WAKEFIELD — It’s official.

After nearly a year, the Broadway commuter rail crossing will re-open permanently on Oct. 29, with the town’s Quiet Zone remaining in place. Town Engineer William Renault broght the good news to the Town Council last night.

In a letter dated Oct. 8 2021, the Federal Railroad Administration approved the supplemental safety measures (SSMs) and additional safety measures (ASMs) implemented by the town at the Broadway, Greenwood and Prospect Street crossings. These measures were deemed sufficient by the FRA that the town can open the Broadway crossing on Oct. 29, after the statutory 21-day statutory notification period.

“FRA approves the Town’s amended application,” the letter reads. “FRA has determined that implementation of the proposed ASMs and SSMs, as described in the Town’s amended application, will result in a Quiet Zone Risk Index of 22,079. This index is below the Risk Index with Horns (the risk that would be present if the horns were still sounding) of 22,472.)”

Lastn month, as a temorary compromise, the Broadway crossing was re-opened briefly with train horns sounding. But the public outcry was such that the town reclosed the crossing pending official FRA approval that would allow the crossing to be re-opened with the Quiet Zone in place.

The Broadway crossing was closed last year to allow National Grid and the town to do some needed infrastructure work. But when the work was done and the town sought approval from the Federal Railroad Administration to re-open the crossing, they learned that the FRA had deemed that the town was not in sufficient compliance with safety measures at its railroad crossings to maintain its “Quiet Zone” status.

Since last November, the only way for the town to remain under the threshold and keep its Quiet Zone status has been to keep the Broadway crossing closed.

Over the ensuing months, Town Engineer Bill Renault had been submitting proposal after proposal to the FRA for supplemental safety measures at various railroad crossings in town in an effort to get sufficient safety credits to allow the Broadway crossing to be re-opened. It has been a frustrating back and forth exercise as neighbors and residents have become increasingly impatient with the seeming lack of progress.

While not required for the reopening of Broadway, Renault has said that he plans to request funding at a the November Town Meeting for the design and construction of quad gate systems at the town’s railroad crossings. Quad gates are a four-gate system designed to block all lanes of traffic on both sides of the track. Installing quad gate systems would bring the town well within the Quiet Zone threshold and help avoid future closures of crossings.