City of Columbia and Norfolk Southern Railway Company Moving Forward with an Agreement for the first Quiet Zone in the City of Columbia

Staff Report

Tuesday, August 25th, 2020

The City of Columbia and Norfolk Southern Railway Company have agreed on the preliminary engineering agreement necessary to begin designing the railroad related elements of the first quiet zone (which consists of 14 crossings – from Gadsden to Beltline).

The Columbia City Council created a Quiet Zone Committee on April 4, 2017 and the Quiet Zone Committee and City staff worked together to develop a plan for the establishment of Quiet Zones throughout the City of Columbia.

“We are excited that the hard work of the Quiet Zone Advisory Committee and City staff is resulting in this next step,” said Brenda Kramer, Co-Chair of the Quiet Zone Committee. “Quiet zones in Columbia will lead to safety improvements at rail crossings and significantly improve quality of life for city residents and visitors. We will continue our support for the city’s efforts in implementing quiet zones.”

At the direction of City Council, City staff has worked alongside the Quiet Zone Committee, FRA, SCDOT, Norfolk Southern and CSX to study and develop a plan to implement Quiet Zones throughout the City.   While the goal is to address crossings throughout Columbia, the Citywide project is large enough that it has been divided into manageable phases that meet FRA guidelines for establishment of Quiet Zones. The first Quiet Zone has been selected as having the highest impact and most cost effective use of limited resources out of the 11 possible zones that have been identified across the City.  

“The establishment of Quiet Zones are another example of the city’s commitment to improving the quality of life for the people of Columbia,” said Mayor Steve Benjamin. “Establishing Quiet Zones improve public safety, reduces sleep disruption, and is overall good for the public health of our citizens. Many thanks to Senator Dick Harpootlian, and the University of South Carolina for their support with moving this project forward.”