Haslet updates train crossings, rules of the road

01/07/2014 3:08 PM

01/07/2014 3:10 PM

Train whistles have long been a common sound in Haslet, but the horns now can be muted.

Two quiet zones went into effect Dec. 20, meaning engineers no longer have to blow their horns as they pass through two BNSF railroad crossings along FM 156: at Avondale-Haslet Road and at Blue Mound Road.

At a typical train crossing, engineers are required to sound the horn as the train approaches and passes through the intersection. Haslet Mayor Bob Golden said quiet zones don’t prohibit engineers from sounding a train’s horn if a safety concern warrants it.

“They always have the option to do so,” Golden said.

A railroad crossing can qualify for a quiet zone if certain safety measures are implemented at the crossing. Haslet briefly closed to traffic small stretches of Avondale-Haslet and Blue Mound roads in 2012 to put the special railroad arms and other features in place.

The total cost of the two quiet zones was approximately $147,000, Golden said. But an inter-local agreement with Tarrant County will reimburse the city approximately $73,000 for the shared expense of the project, he said.

In other traffic-related items, the Haslet City Council at its Dec. 16 meeting passed an ordinance that set or reset the speed limits on every street in the city.

The Council also passed an ordinance that designated where every stop sign is to be located in the city. The stop sign ordinance lists all 33 intersections where one of the signs is located or is to be placed. Go to haslet.org, click on the “Government” tab, then “Ordinances” to view all of Haslet’s listed stop sign intersections.

The amended speed limits are as low as 20 mph on Lewis Lane and as fast as 55 mph on FM 156 south of Blue Mound Road. The speed limit of FM 156 drops to 45 mph north of Blue Mound Road.

The speed limit of the Interstate 35W southbound service road was also set at 45 mph. Go to the government ordinance page on haslet.org to view the speed limit ordinance, which lists all of the speed limits in the city.

The Council at its Dec. 16 meeting also voted to add dead trees to the city’s list of public offenses and nuisances.

The amended ordinance requires the removal of any dead tree greater than 10 feet in height or any dead or damaged portion of a tree more than 10 feet in height if it is deemed that the dead tree poses a threat to life or property at the following places: public facilities, sidewalks or right-of-way; power lines, light poles and other utility equipment; and neighboring houses and structures. A dead tree is also deemed a nuisance if it threatens the safety of people on that property or an adjacent property.

Golden said the dead tree ordinance was not prompted by damage to vegetation caused by the ice storm in early December. “We had originally discussed the prospective dead tree ordinance prior to the ice storm,” he said. “It is strictly safety related – trees encroaching on power lines, easements, sidewalks, streets, homes, etc.”

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