By Lyndsie Kiebert
An official railway Quiet Zone will soon begin taking shape at the Ponder Point railroad crossing in Kootenai, as Bonner County commissioners approved a bid May 19 that would allow a contractor to install safety improvements in the area.
The crossing, located on Kootenai Bay Road, will soon be quiet — meaning trains will no longer blow their horns when approaching the area.
Ponder Point residents launched the Quiet Zone initiative last year, with a goal of raising $15,000 for the project. Bonner County commissioners sponsored the proposal in November. Under Federal Railway Administration rules, the entity that oversees the road’s maintenance must sponsor the Quiet Zone application. Funds raised by the residents will be used to reimburse Bonner County for work on the project.
According to FRA records, the Quiet Zone at Kootenai Bay Road will be the third in Idaho. The other two are located in Rathdrum and East Hope.
The county awarded Weekend Hoe Excavation and Hauling the $11,338 contract for installing safety features at the crossing, including a median to prevent motorists from driving around the crossing arms when they’re down.
“[Weekend Hoe] did the similar project for the city of East Hope, so they are familiar with this kind of work,” said Bonner County Road and Bridge Staff Engineer Matt Mulder.
Mulder told the Reader that he anticipates work on the Quiet Zone could begin in a month or two, depending on the availability of materials.
“We don’t have any firm deadlines as of yet on this project,” he said, “but we do intend to continue moving forward.”
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