Santa Rosa residents living along the railroad line can expect some noise, dust and disruption when construction begins in three weeks to rebuild the tracks for commute trains, transit officials said.

"Construction is going to start in Santa Rosa and roll southward," said Matt Stevens, a spokesman for the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District.

The work will include removing the existing rails, rebuilding the track bed, putting in concrete ties and then replacing and welding together new rail.

The work will start April 27 near Third Street in Santa Rosa.

"There will be noise as they dismantle the track. There will be tractor noise," Stevens said. "They will be working regular business hours, not at night or early morning. They will be sensitive to people's need to sleep."

SMART has sent notices to 1,400 residents and businesses within 500 feet of the rail line between Third Street and Todd Road. A meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Sheppard School in Santa Rosa to outline the work.

It is the first of several informational meetings that will be held as the work progresses for the next two years toward San Rafael.

Residents of the West End Neighborhood and Historic District near Railroad Square aren't too concerned about construction and are excited about the trains coming, said Allen Thomas, the group's vice president.

"I can't imagine it being that big of a deal, but we will wait and see," Thomas said. "Our bigger concerns are more with the operation of the train than construction of the tracks. There was some talk about closing off one of our streets, Eighth Street or Seventh Street."

Closing the street would make it inconvenient to get to the SMART bike path, and the group also wants a parking district created in the neighborhood.

SMART has a $103 million contract with Alameda-based Stacey and Witbeck Inc. and Missouri-based Herzog Contracting Corp. to reconstruct track, repair bridges repair and build stations from Railroad Square in Santa Rosa to the Marin Civic Center in San Rafael.

SMART is preparing to award another contract within the next few months for work between the Civic Center and downtown San Rafael.

The $366 million first segment of the commute line is 38.5 miles from Guerneville Road in Santa Rosa to the Marin Civic Center in San Rafael. Trains are scheduled to begin running in late 2014 or early 2015.

The Santa Rosa-to-Petaluma segment is being rebuilt first because it will serve as the test track when the first rail car arrives in late 2013.

Nippon Sharyo USA, based in Arlington Heights, Ill., will assemble 12 cars for SMART at a plant that the Japanese company is constructing in Rochelle, Ill.

You can reach Staff Writer Bob Norberg at 521-5206 or bob.norberg@

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