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Quiet Zone
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) defines a quiet zone as follows: 
“A quiet zone is a section of a rail line at least one-half mile in length that contains one or more consecutive public highway-rail grade crossings at which locomotive horns are not routinely sounded when trains are approaching the crossings. The prohibited use of train horns at quiet zones only applies to trains when approaching and entering crossings and does not include train horn use within passenger stations or rail yards. Train horns may be sounded in emergency situations or to comply with other railroad or FRA rules even within a quiet zone. Quiet zone regulations also do not eliminate the use of locomotive bells at crossings. Communities wishing to establish quiet zones must work through the appropriate public authority that is responsible for traffic control or law enforcement at the crossings.”

The City Council has made a commitment to create a quiet zone in Elk River. With this direction, staff is currently working with the FRA, BNSF and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to obtain approvals and installation of all required safety devises at all of the crossings. A number of these new safety devises must be installed by MnDOT and/or the BNSF. We continue to work with these partners to achieve timely installation of the required components.

Please select the map below to see a larger version.

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The planned safety improvements and estimated schedule for their installation are detailed as follows:

Zebulon Street (County Road 72): The existing flashing gate system will be supplemented with raised center medians on both sides of the tracks. There will also be “No Train Horn” signs installed. The work at this crossing is expected to be completed in 2015 by a contractor hired by the City.

Ogden Street: The existing flashing gate system will be supplemented with raised center medians on both sides of the tracks. There will also be “No Train Horn” signs installed. The work at this crossing is expected to be completed in 2015 by a contractor hired by the City.

Meadowvale Road (County Road 44): The existing flashing gate system will be supplemented with raised center medians on both sides of the tracks. There will also be “No Train Horn” signs installed. The work at this crossing is expected to be completed in 2015 by a contractor hired by the City.

Proctor Avenue: Our current plan includes for the installation of a wayside horn system at this crossing. Tactile strips, “No Train Horn” signs, and “Look” both way signs will be added on each sidewalk approach. The installation and integration of the wayside horn system must be completed by BNSF crews. We have made request for the work to be done in 2015.

Jackson Avenue: This crossing is scheduled to be upgraded from a 2-gate system to a 4-gate system by MnDOT. Elk River intends to supplement this new safety devise with “No Train Horn” signs, tactile strips, and “Look” both way signs on each sidewalk approach. MnDOT has yet to give a schedule for the installation of the new gate system. We have requested the improvements be completed in 2015.

Main Street: This crossing is scheduled to be upgraded from a 2-gate system to a 4-gate system by MnDOT. Elk River intends to supplement this new safety devise with “No Train Horn” signs, tactile strips, and “Look” both way signs on each sidewalk approach. MnDOT has yet to give a schedule for the installation of the new gate system. We have requested the improvements be completed in 2015.

Great River Energy (Private Crossing): The existing flashing gate system will be supplemented with “No Train Horn” signs. The work at this crossing is expected to be completed in 2015 by a City hired Contractor.

171st Avenue: This crossing is already equipped with a flashing gate system and raised center medians. The crossing will be supplemented with “No Train Horn” signs and “Look” both way signs on each sidewalk approach. The work at this crossing is expected to be completed in 2015 by a City hired Contractor.

165th Avenue: The existing flashing gate system will be supplemented with a raised center median and “No Train Horn” signs. These improvements will be completed in 2015 as part of the reconstruction of 165th Avenue. Final track crossing surface widening and gate arm adjustments will need to be completed by the BNSF to match the new roadway surface. We have requested the BNSF work happen in 2015 as part of our reconstruction project.

Jarvis Street: The existing flashing gate system will be supplemented with a raised center median and “No Train Horn” signs. These improvements will be completed in 2015 as part of the reconstruction of Jarvis Street. Final track crossing surface widening and gate arm adjustments will need to be completed by the BNSF to match the new roadway surface. We have requested the BNSF work happen in 2015 as part of our reconstruction project.

The schedule for the improvements listed above it tentative. The improvements to be complete by the BNSF and MnDOT at Main Street, Jackson Avenue and Proctor Avenue, represent the largest required upgrades. The BNSF schedule for construction of these components is out of our control. If construction of these major components is delayed, the city may elect to delay our less intensive signing and median installation at some of our other crossings until the BNSF work can be completed.