Janet Matkin, WSDOT communications, 360-705-7966
OLYMPIA – Construction of the new Amtrak Cascades station in Tacoma’s Freighthouse Square will begin in June, Washington State Department of Transportation officials announced Thursday, March 24.
“We are very excited to see this crucial project moving forward,” said Ron Pate, director of WSDOT’s Rail Division. “This station is a great addition to Tacoma’s Dome District and will help improve passenger rail service throughout the Amtrak Cascades corridor.”
The building’s owner has signed a possession and use agreement for the center section of the building. This agreement allows WSDOT to start work while the courts determine a fair purchase price for the building as part of eminent domain proceedings. WSDOT started the legal process last month after purchase agreement talks reached an impasse. The federal grant paying for the station has strict completion deadlines, which were in jeopardy when negotiations stalled.
The station was designed in consultation with an active Citizens Advisory Committee and city officials. It features large glass windows for a bright, welcoming lobby, wooden columns, terrazzo flooring and sliding and vertical lift doors to create an indoor/outdoor public space. The station will serve Amtrak Cascades trains and Amtrak’s Coast Starlight long-distance service. The station also is adjacent to the Sound Transit station in Freighthouse Square and across the street from the Pierce Transit Tacoma Dome Station, helping to create a multimodal hub for residents and travelers.
The project will go to bid April 4, with construction starting in June. The station is scheduled to open in fall 2017.
The new station is part of the $89.1 million Point Defiance Bypass high-speed rail project, which will reroute passenger train traffic through DuPont, Lakewood and Tacoma, creating a faster and more reliable travel route. Point Defiance Bypass is one of 20 projects in the federally funded Cascades High-Speed Rail Program. When complete in 2017, the projects will add two more daily roundtrips between Seattle and Portland, for a total of six; reduce travel time between the two cities and improve on-time reliability to 88 percent.