As the largest port on the Great Lakes, the City of Superior functions as a major hub for regional freight rail activity. With more than 100 highway-rail at-grade crossings throughout the City, balancing the needs for efficient railroad operations and quality of life for residents is an ever-present challenge. SRF’s rail knowledge and understanding of quiet zones helped the City make informed decisions regarding these issues.
An initial task was submitting two waivers to the Federal Railroad Administration for the 28th Street crossing near the BNSF Railway yard. One of the waivers would allow this crossing to be included in a quiet zone without having constant warning time equipment, and the other inquired about a time extension for the existing Pre-Rule Quiet Zone.
Following the submittal of the FRA waivers, SRF worked closely with City and FRA staff to complete a field review of every at-grade crossing within the city limits. The review included crossings from four major Class I railroads: BNSF, CP, UP, and CN.
This field review, in conjunction with a review of quiet zone documentation submitted to the FRA, was used to identify the quiet zone status of crossings, specifically those that were Pre-Rule Quiet Zones and potentially at risk of reverting to non-quiet zone status when the final deadline for FRA’s Quiet Zone Final Rule took effect.
Following the identification of these at-risk crossings, a diagnostic review was coordinated between the City, the DOT, and the railroads to inspect these crossings and determine the necessary steps to maintain their quiet zone status.