The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

April 24, 2013

Quiet zone discussion gains traction

OTTUMWA — Every day, a train horn sounds more than 1,000 times in downtown Ottumwa.

SRF Consulting, of Minneapolis, showed a group of Ottumwans options when it comes to the possibility of converting seven railroad crossings downtown into "quiet zones" Tuesday night.

A quiet zone is defined as "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," according to the Federal Railroad Administration.

The "not routinely sounded" is critical, said SRF consultant Andy Mielke.

"It doesn't mean you'll never hear another train horn in town," he said. "It just means the routine sounding will cease."

While the quiet zones discussion has floated through the city for the last 20-25 years, said Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation president and CEO Brad Little, most decided that it was too expensive.

SRF Consulting, with whom ORLF has established a contract, worked with Burlington and Fairfield in implementing their quiet zones.

"It's a lot more than not having trains blow whistles coming through town," Little said. "It's about enhancing the safety of the crossings, the quality of life, bringing more businesses and residents downtown."

Mielke showed a map of the seven rail crossings up for consideration in Ottumwa: Clay Street, McLean Street, Kitterman Avenue, Market Street, Green Street, Vine Street and Iowa Avenue.

On the BNSF line, an average of 43 trains pass through town each day, each going approximately 40 mph. At each crossing, a train is required to sound its horn four times. With seven crossings in downtown Ottumwa, that totals 1,204 horns per day, each sounding at 110 decibels.

In order to qualify to become a quiet zone, the risk level of the crossings without horns must be below the national risk level and the risk level of the crossing when the horn sounds. Right now, most of Ottumwa's crossings meet all the minimum requirements.

Text Only
Local News
  • 0417 OTT Earth day color photo 1 -T -M Cargill celebrates Earth Day by educating ALBIA — In honor of Earth Day on Tuesday, April 22, employees from Cargill Eddyville and Cargill Pork are visiting with students at Grant Elementary and Lincoln Center in Albia all this week. On Wednesday the Courier caught up with them as they went

    April 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • 0417 OTT Saving Center color photo -T -L -M Hedrick building has friends HEDRICK — The community wants a civic center, and they've been willing to work for it. "I'd say we have 15 to 25 volunteers each time," Tommy Smith of Hedrick said. "These are all good people." Smith was volunteering his services at the Easter Brunch

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Southern Iowa farmers preparing for planting OTTUMWA — Even though the winter seemed to linger like Iowa was going through an ice age and cold and wet weather has highlighted the early spring, farmers are starting to get out to their fields to put down fertilizer and get fields ready for planti

    April 16, 2014

  • 0417 OTT Camp Wapello fence photo -T -M -L Good fence irritates good neighbor DRAKESVILLE — For 82 years, Camp Wapello’s iconic entryway has welcomed people to peacefully coexist with nature. Now there’s a 400-foot barbed wire fence down the middle of the road. In February, Davis County Supervisors approved vacating of portion

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Carrying bookbags a balancing act OTTUMWA — Permission slips. Notes from teachers. School activity announcements, birthday invitations, report cards and homework to sign. Kids bring home a lot of stuff. But is it done fairly? The school board this week was asked by ranking members of

    April 16, 2014

  • Van Buren supervisors deny hog confinement permit application KEOSAUQUA — A proposed swine building in Chequest Township didn’t receive a seal of approval from Van Buren County Board of Supervisors. Supervisors voted Monday to recommend to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to deny the permit. Supervisor

    April 16, 2014

  • 0417 OTT Beth Howard bw cover -L -T -M 'Ms. American Pie' tours with her new book ELDON — With many hours and countless miles on her RV "The Beast," Eldon's pie lady, Beth Howard, is celebrating the release of her new book with a tour of southwestern states. Howard's second book, "Ms. American Pie: Buttery Good Pie Recipes and Bol

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • Van Buren to share FFA with Harmony KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren Community School Board approved a recommendation from its administration to share the ag program with Harmony for the 2014-15 school year. The decision means that Van Buren students would travel to Harmony to receive ag instruct

    April 16, 2014

  • Attorney withdraws after client disappears OTTUMWA — Authorities are still looking for an Ottumwa man who didn’t show up for court proceedings. When they find him, he’ll need a new attorney. Jacob Nordyke faces charges of interference with official acts and possession of drug paraphernalia. H

    April 16, 2014

  • Waste Management wants to stay in Keosauqua KEOSAUQUA — Waste Management told the city of Keosauqua that it was not interested in ending the contract it has for solid waste and recycling services it provides to the city. A representative told the city mayor that it intends to fulfill the contr

    April 16, 2014

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook
E-edition