Corinth quiet zone lacks support at public hearing

By Lena Mitchell

Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

CORINTH – If Corinth business owners and residents who attended a public hearing Monday on whether the city should adopt a quiet zone have their way, the change in downtown Corinth will never happen.

Corinth officials began considering implementing a quiet zone along the Norfolk Southern Railroad line that operates east-west freight train traffic through the city in September last year.

The Federal Railway Administration was asked to provide projected costs and requirements if the city were to proceed with implementing the change.

No representative of the FRA nor any supporters of the quiet zone attended Monday’s public hearing.

However, Ward 1 Alderman Andrew “Bubba” Labas said he had received numerous requests about quieting train horns through town during his four years in office.

The longtime downtown residents and business owners who attended the public hearing noted that the trains were sounding their horns long before residents of upstairs apartments and new downtown townhouses moved in, so the noise level was nothing new.

Several also said they and their visitors find the train horns charming and a part of the city’s character and history.

Norfolk Southern spokesman Will Miller estimated the cost of safety upgrades that would be required to be installed before the FRA might accept a quiet zone request could be about $35,000 per crossing for the six crossings from South Parkway to Linden Street that were being discussed.

Other issues mentioned were the likely closing of the crossing at Madison Street and the possibility that two streets would be converted to one-way streets: Franklin Street southbound and Taylor Street northbound. That possibility raised concerns from business owners who said the large delivery trucks that bring their merchandise would lose access.

Labas and Mayor Tommy Irwin assured business owners that the city board would take no action that could hurt business.

More detailed information about implementation requirements and cost will be gathered for further consideration by the full board.

lena.mitchell@journalinc.com