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Town of Falmouth, Maine
271 Falmouth Road
Falmouth, ME 04105
town@town.falmouth.me.us
(207) 781-5253

 
December 12 Agenda Item 11
Attachments:
Attachment NameAttachment SizeAttachment Date
Size: 765K
Last Updated: 2011/12/7
Size: 349K
Last Updated: 2011/12/7
Size: 61K
Last Updated: 2011/12/7
Size: 6.1K
Last Updated: 2011/12/6
Size: 678K
Last Updated: 2011/11/21
Size: 584K
Last Updated: 2011/10/18
Size: 20M
Last Updated: 2011/9/15
Subject:
Order to authorize a supplemental appropriation of $130,000 from the undesignated fund balance for railroad crossing upgrades.

ACTION: Council action is anticipated.
Summary:
On September 19, a presentation was held with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) staff to explore options for the Council to consider regarding the safety of the railroad crossings along the Pan Am Railways line. The presentation for that meeting is attached (Note: The "FRA 20110915 Full Page" presentation is a 19 MB file and will take a moment to upload).

There are four crossings in Falmouth including crossings on Blackstrap Road, Falmouth Road, Field Road and Woodville Road. There is one other crossing on a private road, Muirfield Road/Birkdale Road, which impacts Falmouth residents, but is located in Cumberland.

Two crossings, Blackstrap and Falmouth Roads,  are currently located in what is called a "Quiet Zone" (QZ). These zones were previously created and approved by the Federal Railroad Authority (FRA). A QZ is only allowed if there are adequate supplemental safety measures in place that will ensure similar or greater safety related conditions than reliance on the train whistle.

The new Downeaster extension of service from Portland to Brunswick will add rail traffic to the crossings and the rail upgrade will allow freight trains to travel at higher speeds. Most crossings will have upgrades paid for by the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority (NNEPRA), operator of the Downeaster. However, these improvements will not be enough to either maintain QZ at Blackstrap and Falmouth Roads or add QZ to Field and Woodville Roads.

There are some options or supplemental safety measures (SSM's) that could be added to these crossings to maintain or add a QZ in Falmouth.

On October 24, staff presented an update to possible crossing improvement designs and cost estimates (see attached "Council QZ 20111018 summary" memo).  The Council decided it wanted to hold a Public Hearing before deciding if it wants to pursue maintaining and/or extending a "Quiet Zone" in Falmouth.

On November 28th the Council held a public hearing on this topic. Following the hearing the Council gave a unanimous "head nod" to staff to prepare an Order for Council action for the December 12th meeting (see attached). The Town Council also asked staff to prepare an educational or public outreach plan associated with RR crossing safety. Police Chief Ed Tolan has developed a proposed plan (attached memo) along with other supporting documentation (attached).

 

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