The city of Killeen plans to close a dangerous downtown intersection in an effort to silence a daily train horn that has bothered Fort Hood residents for years.
During a meeting Tuesday, the Killeen City Council unanimously approved the closure of 761st Tank Battalion Avenue — also known as Avenue E — at the intersection of Fort Hood Street at the request of Fort Hood garrison commanders.
Locomotive engineers are required by state law to sound train horns a quarter-mile before reaching a railroad crossing unless additional safety measures are put in place, according to city documents.
The closure was necessary in order to comply with Federal Railroad Administration regulations for creating a “quiet zone” around the Fort Hood Street crossing, said George Lueck, Killeen transportation director.
Eduardo Marquez, manager of Mercado Azteca grocery store, located near the intersection, said losing a little accessibility to his business is worth putting an end to the ear-splitting noise of the daily train horn.
“It’s loud,” Marquez said. “During lunch time, I have to close the doors when the train goes by.”
Across the road on Fort Hood, nearly 1,000 families live adjacent to the railroad tracks and many have complained about the noise, said Brian Dosa, Fort Hood director of public works.
“The quiet zone is significant to the families that live in those homes close to the rail,” he said.
The intersection is an unprotected left turn onto Fort Hood Street and over the major railroad crossing.
Killeen city officials said a recent traffic study concluded that the permanent closure of the intersection would not pose a significant impact on traffic and would improve safety at the intersection.
In five years between 2007 and 2012, 14 accidents occurred within 25 feet of the intersection.
“This is another example of how closely the city and Fort Hood work together to accommodate residents,” Mayor Pro Tem Michael Lower said.