County obtains state funds for wayside horn installations
by Martha Quetsch
KANE COUNTYâ€”Kane County Board member Drew Frasz is thrilled about the progress of his proposed wayside horn installation at railroad crossings between Campton Hills and Maple Park.
He recently learned from state Sen. Chris Lauzen that the state’s 2010 budget allocated $250,000 for a county project to install wayside horns at the two easternmost crossings, at LaFox Road and Brundige Road.
â€œWe’re really excited about it. It’s one of those rare projects that actually gets funding. So the hard part is done,â€ Frasz said Tuesday.
Since Frasz took office last year, the concern he has heard most from his constituents is about the noise from train whistles, particularly from people in Mill Creek subdivision, near the LaFox and Brundige crossings.
By installing wayside horns at railroad crossings, communities including DeKalb and Elburn met federal safety requirements for stopping train whistles from blaring there under most circumstances.
Frasz’ proposal is to place wayside horns at several more crossings to the west, possibly as far as Pritchard Road near Maple Park. He hopes to obtain additional state funding from future state budgets for this long-range goal.
â€œIt will make a big impact on the quality of life in Mill Creek and to the west, as we go forward,â€ Frasz said.
Frasz said he will work with officials from the Kane County Transportation Committee and Department of Transportation to set up a fund in which to place the state money for the wayside horns project.
No engineering planning has been done yet for the project; that is the next step, Frasz said.
â€œWe didn’t want to start the process until we secured funds,â€ Frasz said.
KDOT employees could provide the engineering work for the project, to keep costs down, Frasz said.
Lauzen credited Frasz’ initiative for securing the state funding. To support his quest for the funding, Frasz compiled a detailed, long-range prospectus for wayside horn installation in western Kane County.
â€œIt really was his overall plan â€¦ he did a great job,â€ Lauzen said.
Frasz estimated that wayside horns and project engineering for each crossing will cost up to $125,000. If the cost is lower, the county could install the wayside horns at a third crossing in the first phase of the project, at Howard Road, Frasz said. Blackberry Township contributed $10,000 toward the project, as it did for the Elburn wayside horns.