Quiet Zone establishment in Mason City still delayed due to issues

MASON CITY — The efforts to establish a Quiet Zone along the Union Pacific line in the western part of Mason City continues to be delayed.

Last fall, City Engineer Mark Rahm told the council that the Federal Rail Administration in their review of the work done identified several new issues that needed to be completed prior to the Quiet Zone officially being established.

Rahm says they still have a few issues that have been raised by the Union Pacific to the FRA. One of the current issues is with the crossing on 15th Southwest.  “That set of lane delineators has been damaged repeatedly over and over. We ordered new equipment. That equipment is in, but you know we’re not going to go out and put it up just to have it damaged again.  I had a talk with Mr. Burnett about some of the things we could do, and one of them is a possibility of doing an alternate style of delineation and that’s what I’m waiting for as far as approval from the FRA.”

Rahm says he has almost everything ready to go to re-submit the city’s application to the FRA.  “I’m being told that should not be a big hang-up there, we should be able to get that through quickly. There is a hold up with calculating some of the safety index factors as the FRA has an online calculator, you use different numbers and different data and just punch into that calculator, and that doesn’t seem to be working properly. It’s something on their end that they need to repair before I can even calculate those. For right now we’re really not doing anything. We did a couple of the things the UP level asked us to do, and we’re just kind of sitting waiting for some type of approval from the FRA.”

The city has been working on the effort to reduce train horn noise by establishing the Quiet Zones at the UP crossings at 15th Southwest, 6th Southwest and 1st Northwest.