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Commerce City Residents Plead For Relief From Train Horns

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

COMMERCE CITY, Colo (CBS4) – Residents in one Commerce City neighborhood are fighting for quiet. They say they’re rattled out of bed every night by train horns. And while other intersections have gone quiet, the train horns continue to blow near their homes.

“At 2 o’clock in the morning, at 3 o’clock in the morning, at 4 o’clock in the morning, I mean it’s all the time,” said Tammy Anshutz, a resident who lives near the intersection at 96th and Highway 2 in Commerce city.

She and her neighbors say the horns have always been a problem, but it’s gotten worse over the 12 years since their homes were built.

“It rattles my windows , it rattles my sliding glass door, it rattles my beds, it rattles everything,” said Anshutz’ neighbor, Stephanie Maes.

The residents have been rattling cages at the railroad and the city for years. When they complain they say they get the runaround; the city says contact Burlington Northern Railroad and the railroad says contact the city.

“Nobody wants to take care of it. Nobody want to own up to it,” Anshutz said.

“Nobody will help us and we have not had a full night’s sleep since we’ve moved in,” Maes agrees.

In the meantime, “No Train Horn” signs have gone up at four other Commerce City intersections, silencing the trains and relieving nearby residents. The signs are part of a Quiet Zone program that the city is implementing to improve the quality of life for its citizens. But the signs also add fuel to the fire for Anshutz and her neighbors.

“So what’s wrong with 96? It’s not any different,” she asked CBS4.

A 4 On Your Side Consumer Investigation found that the intersection at 96th and Highway 2 is different. Unlike other intersections, there are two tracks running right next to the highway, which creates major safety concerns.

Commerce City records show there have been nine accidents there in the last 6 years, and one of those accidents was a fatality. The city has already reconstructed the intersection to make it safer.

Engineers say “No Train Horn” signs are not an option, but they say help is on the way.

“In the State of Colorado it will be the first wayside horn system installed,” said Glenn Ellis, Commerce City Projects Manager.

DOCUMENT: More Information On Automated Train Horns

Commerce City is installing an automated horn system at the intersection. The warning horns will sound at the intersection and not from the trains, which should cut down considerably on noise pollution.

“Those residents a quarter of a mile up the road won’t really hear the noise,” Ellis added.

Ellis says the holdup on the project has been negotiations with Burlington Northern Railroad. Because the wayside horn system is the first of its kind in the state, there have been a lot of negotiations to get appropriate language in the agreement between the city and the railroad.

Commerce City officials say the whole system should be installed and running by July of this year. That should give Tammy Anshutz and her neighbors a little peace and quiet.

- Written for the Web by CBS4 Special Projects Producer Libby Smith

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