The Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation (ORLF) retained SRF to investigate options for improving safety at seven at-grade highway rail crossings along the Burlington Northern/Santa Fe Railway mainline within the City of Ottumwa, and to minimize the impacts of train horn noise throughout the community. The ORLF pursued railroad quiet zones as a key component of a revitalization effort for downtown Ottumwa. SRF was also hired to complete a study to evaluate the feasibility of a one-way pair roadway configuration through the downtown area.
SRF worked closely with the City, BNSF Railway, and FRA staff to coordinate an on-site diagnostic meeting in order to develop a range of crossing improvement options. Three improvement scenarios were developed that would allow the City to implement a quiet zone. The first scenario provided the highest safety improvement and included the closure of two underutilized crossings. The second scenario provided improvements with a minimal impact on adjacent business access by using reduced length medians and four-quadrant gates. The third scenario proposed improvements at every crossing without the need for crossing closures.