- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 2, 2014

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Visitors to Cheyenne should soon be able to get a better night’s sleep thanks to a “quiet zone” being created at Wyoming’s busiest railroad crossing.

Work is set to begin Wednesday to make it more difficult for vehicles to sneak around the closed crossing gates at the Union Pacific Railroad crossing at West Lincolnway and Southwest Drive. That should reduce the need for freight trains to blow their horns at drivers multiple times, making for quieter nights at the strip of hotels and motels along West Lincolnway.

“The quiet zone will include a barrier wall down the center of the crossing. So once the crossing gates close, no cars will be able to slip around the gates,” Carla Brown of the Wyoming Department of Transportation told the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle (http://bit.ly/1qluv1m) last week.

Darren Rudloff, the president of the local convention and visitors’ bureau, Visit Cheyenne, said the quiet zone will be a big help to hotels and their visitors.

“Cheyenne is certainly a railroad town, and that’s something we promote. But we recognize that these train whistles do impact hotels near the crossings and their guests,” he said.

The intersection was closed for the project on Tuesday, but construction was delayed until Wednesday because the contractor, Knife River of Cheyenne, was waiting for permission from Union Pacific to begin the work, Wyoming Department of Transportation resident engineer Wayne Shenefelt said.

It will be closed for about three weeks during the construction, forcing traffic to be detoured to Interstate 25 and College Drive. The work will cost $183,300, which will be covered by the state.

In 2011, the Legislature approved $5 million to build railroad quiet zones. In 2012, the Cheyenne City Council approved an agreement with the state Department of Transportation identifying several crossings that could benefit from quiet-zone projects.

A 2009 study found that Cheyenne’s railroad crossings are the state’s busiest and noisiest, with the West Lincolnway crossing at the top of the list.

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Information from: Wyoming Tribune Eagle, http://www.wyomingnews.com