Medora considers ‘horn-free’MEDORA — If all goes as planned, the City of Medora will be a lot quieter this summer.
By: Beth Wischmeyer, The Dickinson Press
MEDORA — If all goes as planned, the City of Medora will be a lot quieter this summer.
At Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Medora City Council, the council voted unanimously to approve a preparation of a notice of intent to make the city a 24-hour quiet zone, eliminating train horns blowing while going through the city.
Once completed, Medora would be only the second city in the state and only one of 327 other cities in the U.S. to declare their city a quiet zone.
Richard Lane, Principal for SRF Consulting Group of Fargo, was on hand to present information and pass down a recommendation on how the city could conform to federal standards in order to declare the city a quiet zone.
“If you’re going to take the horns away, you have to do something to take the risks back down,” Lane said.
In order to comply with Federal Railroad Administration regulations, the city would be required to either provide closures, 4-quadrant gates, a one way street with gate across the full width of the street, channelization with gates or medians with gates.
Although each a potential option for the city’s two railroad crossings, Lane said expense could be an issue.
“The type of gate system you have is a two-quadrant gate system,” Lane said. “A four-quadrant gate system would have four gates so that both sides of the railroad are blocked completely. “The lowest cost one that we did in the Fargo-Moorhead area, for just one crossing, was about $340,000. They work, but they’re expensive.”
After looking into the issue, Lane said SRF recommends the installation of medians, with a minimum of a 6 inch high curb, as the most appropriate safety measure for the city, which is expected to cost roughly $50,000 per crossing.
Now that the council has approved SRF to develop a notice of intent, a 60 day comment period will be completed before the design and implementation phases will take place.
“It lets all the agencies what your intent is, which in our case would be that we are going to install medians,” Lane said. “That gives people some time, if they wish to do so, to comment on the implementation on the quiet zone.”
Lane stressed the notice of intent does not mean a final decision on whether or not the city would indeed construct quiet zones.
Although engineers could be fined if horns are used once the city is declared a quiet zone, Lane said it won’t completely stop them from using the horns if the engineer deems it necessary.
“There are times when the horn will sound,” Lane said. “If an engineer is going down the track and he sees someone on the track, or close to the track crossing, he can still blow it. Anytime he seems any imminent danger, he will blow that horn. He will also blow that horn if there is any road work or railroad work going on in the area.”
Lane estimated the design could be completed in April and the medians could be constructed in early May.
A joint powers agreement was also approved by the council, which would partner the city with Billings County in efforts to hire a full-time emergency medical technician, pending approval and potential changes by the Billings County Commission.
“That person would supervise ambulance personnel, the training records, they’d be teaching CPR and first aid and recruitment of volunteers,” said Billings County Emergency Manager Pat Rummel.
Rummel added that if the city could help find some housing for the person in the position, would ensure that person could remain in Medora, where he or she is needed.
Costs for the employment of this person would be shared equally between the city and Billings County, Rummel said.
Additionally, liquor licenses for the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation and the Iron Horse Saloon were approved at the meeting; with a condition on the Iron Horse license that owner Mark Shoemaker answer one item on the application that was not completed.
An alleged violation of the City of Medora Beer and Liquor License Agreement against the Little Missouri Saloon was also discussed.
Travis Froelich, owner of the Little Missouri Saloon, is alleged to have been serving alcohol after hours on Nov. 29. Froelich was not present at Tuesday’s meeting.
The item was tabled to allow adequate time for council members to hear police audio recordings taken during the incident and to allow for Froelich to attend next month’s meeting.
Next month’s meeting of the council is scheduled for Feb. 3 at 6 p.m. at the Medora Community Center.