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San Diego Train Crossings Getting Silent Treatment

Thousands of people are looking forward to more silent nights in downtown San Diego. A ceremony Thursday marked the start of a construction project to create "quiet zones."

The nearly $21 million project will create safety features, such as additional gates, road medians, traffic signals, signs and warning lights at 12 railroad crossings.

Modernizing the crossings means trains won't use their horns as often. Creating "quiet zones" would allow Amtrak and other trains to pass silently.

Reducing horn noise is music to the ears of Gary Smith, who lives in downtown San Diego, and has put up with early morning train horns for years.

"The horns blast at 2:15 in the morning, yes, it's a problem," said Smith. "There are 38 railroad trains a day not counting the San Diego Trolley, and each one of those has to blow its horn or whistles at more than 12 crossings."

Other railway users include Burlington Northern, the San Diego Trolley and the North County Transit District Coaster.

Construction at the crossings will also add pedestrian gates, curb ramps and roadway modifications.

When work is complete late next year, people living near the crossing, like Gary Smith, will be able to sleep more soundly.

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