Downtown residents of Cedar Rapids are tired of hearing the train. They know it's necessary for the trains to announce their presence for safety reasons, but they wonder why it has to be such a nuisance. It interferes with everything from hearing the TV to carrying on a conversation to being able to sleep.

But when it's in the middle of the night or early morning, it can be especially annoying. That's why about 5 years ago the City of Cedar Rapids announced plans for a "Quiet Zone" project: figuring out a way to silence those trains at inopportune times while still keeping the public safe.

Notice I said this started 5 years ago. It's been a bumpy "railroad" so to speak but the city has announced that with phase one of the project now at or near completion, it can give a ballpark deadline of 2024 to be fully finished.

KCRG interviewed a couple of residents from Geneva Towers downtown who say they can hear the loud, repetitive noises of trains up to 7 times a day.

But those out and about on the roads still need to be aware of their surroundings which include knowing when there are trains coming. They've started preliminary steps toward the plan in those five years, like setting up arms, lights, and improved signage.

Each remaining phase is projected to take about a year and while you can't completely stop the noise of a train, you can safely reduce it, and that's what this project aims to do. Fewer soundings from the train sirens would be an ideal part of the solution, according to neighbors near railroads. The city has to coordinate with three railroad companies and various federal agencies to get all plans and steps approved, hence the length of time it's taking, according to KCRG.

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