Special to The Gardner News
Issues regarding the impending quiet zone railroad crossing on Nelson Street were the highlights of the May 22 Edgerton City Council meeting.
The crossing is tentatively set to become a quiet zone on June 9. Construction on the project has been complete for several days, but it will take a few more days to get all the legal approvals from local, state, and railroad officials. Once approved, train engineers will no longer have to blow train whistles at the at-grade crossing.
At least one farmer has brought his concerns to the city regarding the crossing.
The farmer told city council members that he experienced difficulty getting his farm equipment through the crossing due to the recently-added concrete median. The median was required to make the crossing a quiet zone.
City Administrator Beth Linn reported to the governing body the results of a study done by City Engineer David Hamby. The results of this study presented several different options to the city.
One option would be to replace existing permanent signs on the median with removable signs. The farmer could contact city staff when he needed to navigate the crossing so the signs could be temporarily removed. Since the median is considered an obstruction in the roadway, signs are required to mark it.
Another option is a major reconstruction of the crossing, which would involve widening the roadway and moving the railroad crossing gates further away from the road centerline. Costs for this option have not been determined as of yet.
The third option would involve removal of the medians and signs and the installation of four quadrant crossing gates. This would allow farmers to pass through the crossing as they did before the construction of the concrete medians. Costs for this option are also currently unknown.
A fourth option would be to work with the farmers to develop an alternate crossing location for their equipment.
City staff and the governing body will continue to investigate the quiet zone concerns and hope to resolve the issues in the near future.
In a related matter, City Administrator Linn pointed out that even after the railroad crossing legally and officially becomes a quiet zone on June 9, the train engineer still can blow the train horn at his discretion in case of any kind of safety concern he may have or in the case of an emergency.
In other business, the city council discussed two specific properties in the community that need attention regarding safety and appearance. The city is in the process of contacting and talking to the owners of the properties.