Shelagh Dufault, West Palm Beach
A: Local governments in Palm Beach County are expected to team up to apply to the Federal Railroad Administration to silence train horns on the FEC as plans move forward for a passenger rail service linking Miami and Orlando and a commuter rail service.
You can learn more at allaboardflorida.com.
Except in emergencies, train horns were silenced in 2006 on the Tri-Rail tracks at 14 crossings from 36th Street to Forest Hill Boulevard. West Palm Beach became the second city in Palm Beach County after Boca Raton to establish a quiet zone on the Tri-Rail tracks. The ban applies to Tri-Rail, Amtrak and CSX freight trains.
But the FEC, which runs a few blocks east of the Tri-Rail tracks in downtown West Palm Beach, does not have a quiet zone anywhere other than along a spur in downtown Miami.
To qualify for a quiet zone, municipalities would have to foot the bill for safety improvements such as new gates, lights or raised medians that the feds may require. The costs can vary widely, depending on size, number of crossings and type of improvements. Federal grants could cover some of the costs.
Construction on the Miami-to-Orlando service is expected to begin by the end of this year.
Q: There is absolutely no merge lane from the ramp on northbound University Drive to westbound Interstate 595. You come off the ramp right into a lane of traffic going 70 mph. Someone will die if it is not fixed. I thought the realignment of lanes was to allow for more merge time.
Lori Lipkin, Weston
A: Last Tuesday night, crews re-striped the lane from the ramp to allow for a smoother transition onto westbound I-595.
The area recently underwent a big change. The westbound off-ramp to Pine Island Road was relocated a month ago about 3/4 mile east to avoid conflicts with the on-ramp from northbound University.
When construction is finished, westbound I-595 will have four through lanes at University and an auxiliary lane to ease merging that will begin with the on-ramp from northbound University and continue to the off-ramp to Nob Hill Road.
Q: Recently I was going home via I-595 to Florida's Turnpike and then exiting at Griffin Road, but the Griffin ramp was closed. I ended up driving nearly 16 miles out of my way to get home. Has the Griffin exit from the southbound turnpike re-opened?
Fay Francisco, Southwest Ranches
A: You're in luck. On April 8, a new southbound off-ramp to Griffin opened about one mile north of the ramp's old location, part of a new ramp system that parallels the turnpike.
The new ramp from I-595 to the southbound turnpike gives drivers the option of exiting to Griffin before merging onto the turnpike.
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