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City waiting until March on potential rail-noise mitigation study

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City Councilman Clay Haley, saying he strongly supports reducing train-horn noise in Carroll, wants to wait until March to consider a $20,150 expense to update a plan to do just that.

“I’m certainly an advocate of quiet zones in Carroll and have been for some time,” Haley said.

But he wants the city to work through the next fiscal year’s budget and take stock of the effects of the pandemic before voting on whether to hire Bolton & Menk, one of the Midwest’s largest engineering firms with a history of managing rail-noise projects, to draft an updated proposal.

Haley’s view prevailed Monday as the City Council delayed consideration of a study that would result in options and costs associated with mitigating train noise at the seven intersections with the Union Pacific Railroad inside the corporate limits of Carroll: Bella Vista Road, North Grant Road, North Maple Street, North Clark Street, North Main Street, North Carroll Street and Burgess Avenue.

A recommendation could involve closing certain intersections, mostly likely Maple, if any such suggestions emerge.

“The study itself is going to give us different options,” City Manager Mike Pogge-Weaver said.

Councilman LaVern Dirkx said the delay of funding the study makes sense as the city sorts out future finances.

“I don’t want to do a study have it sit on the shelf because we don’t have the funds,” he said.

Councilwoman Carolyn Siemann thinks the city can negotiate a lower contract cost with Bolton & Menk.

The City Council voted 5 to 1 to delay the vote on funding the study. Councilman Mike Kots supports funding the study right away to move it along.

A number of proposals have been discussed through the years, but none generated consensus because of cost and liability concerns, among other issues. The city’s most recent study is from 2014.

Haley says the City Council understands how important this issue is to Carroll.

“I’ve had way too many constituents after me about train-horn-noise mitigation to patsy it down the road,” he said.

The issue is expected to be on the agenda at a March Carroll City Council for consideration.

In other business, the council appointed Denis Bormann to a three-year term on the city’s Historical Preservation Commission.

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