By Barbie Porter


Frazee City Council members Mike Sharp and Mark Flemmer made a promise during their last bid for re-election to continue working to make Frazee a quiet zone. During the city council’s monthly meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 16, the work behind the scene was revealed.

Contributed photo
Frazee City Council members Mike Sharp and Mark Flemmer are hoping a channelization system will allow the city to be considered a quiet zone for railroad traffic.

A quiet zone is a section of rail line that contains one or  more consecutive public crossings at which locomotive horns are not routinely sounded. In the past, it was thought this designation would come at considerable expense to Frazee.

Flemmer applauded Sharp for presenting the idea of channelization devices, which made the project financially feasible.

Channelization devices are a traffic separation system. It is made of raised longitudinal channelizer with vertical panels or tubular delineators attached. The panels or tubes are placed between opposing highway lanes designed to alert or guide traffic around an obstacle, or to direct traffic in a particular direction.

Flemmer explained the plan is to install a Federal Railroad Administration approved Qwick Kurb Channelization system at the railroad crossings on Fifth Street and Lake Street. It was noted the crossing west of Frazee already qualifies for a quiet zone and no cost would be involved. However, Flemmer said he would like to see a sign stating the train doesn’t use its horn at the crossing.

The Fifth Street channelization system would be installed on 60-feet of the center line, on each side of the road leading up to the railroad intersection, as well as signage.

The Lake Street crossing would have a channelization system installed at 30-feet on the south side and 38-feet on the north side, which is closest to downtown.

Snow removal was briefly discussed. Sharp noted there are similar systems in the Chicago, Ill. area as well as Canada. While repairs to damaged channelization systems may be needed in time, sections can be pulled out instead of having to repair the entire part. 

Concerns about trucks and buses being able to navigate the intersections was also mentioned. Initial thought was there would be appropriate space, but the council agreed to get feedback from Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Potential road changes needed on Lake Street would be right hand turn only lane from Endeavor Road onto Lake Street. As for the  alley behind the Hostel Hornet, the options would be to create a left turn only lane exiting onto Lake Street or to close the alley.

Flemmer explained the concept has received the blessing from the Federal Railroad Administration, but much paperwork has to be done before creating the channelization systems. He predicted it could be a year out before full approval.

While early in the process, cost of installing the channelization system was examined by Flemmer and Sharp. Flemmer reported a price for both Lake Street and Fifth Street to be about $14,000.

The council gave Sharp and Flemmer approval to continue working on the project on the city’s behalf. 

Flemmer said the next step is to contact stakeholders for a site assessment and then prepare a packet for the Federal Railroad Administration. If all goes to plan that would be followed by working with MnDOT for potential lane changes. Then, ordering and installing the system would happen, followed by implementing the quite zone in Frazee.