Andover’s wayside horns have ‘worked very well’

Click here to read more about Elk River’s interest in quiet zones.

by Joni Astrup

Associate editor

Andover is believed to be the only city in Minnesota that currently has wayside horns, according to Elk River City Engineer Justin Femrite.

Wayside horns are one measure used to reduce noise from train horns. They are stationary, mounted on poles at railroad crossings and directed at vehicles on the road so locomotives don’t have to sound their horns at the crossing.

Andover Director of Public Works/City Engineer Dave Berkowitz said the city has wayside horns at Crosstown Boulevard and at Andover Boulevard.

“They’ve worked very well,” he said.

The horns are automatically activated and channel the horn noise down the street corridor so the train isn’t blowing the horn out a quarter mile from the crossing, he said. The decibel levels are also lower on the wayside horn than they would be on the train, he said.

Andover went with wayside horns rather than true quiet zones because to achieve a quiet zone the city would have had to pay to put in new crossing arms and signals at the crossings. “It became so it wasn’t feasible,” Berkowitz said.

At the time they put in the wayside horns, he said the only other city they were aware of in the Midwest using wayside horns was Ames, Iowa.