- The project team is preparing to start environmental work on this and two other projects in the Kelso area.
- These studies will evaluate potential impacts from these improvements on the surrounding environment and explore ways to minimize or avoid those impacts.
Why is WSDOT
applying federal high speed rail funds to extend siding track at the south end of the Port of Kalama?
More shipments coming in and out of the Port of Kalama have created a major rail line chokepoint through the Port, slowing down freight and passenger rail traffic.
WSDOT will contract with railroad owner BNSF to extend approximately one mile of siding track near the south end of the Port of Kalama and construct a new roadway bridge over the railroad tracks at Toteff Road. Crews will also upgrade switch components in the tracks to allow Amtrak Cascades trains to maintain more consistent speeds through the area.
Extending the siding track, along with other improvements, allows freight trains to move off the main line tracks more quickly - resulting in fewer delays to Amtrak Cascades passenger trains.
The End Result
The rail improvements in this area will reduce rail line congestion currently affecting passenger train performance. Movement of goods traveling to and from Washington ports will also improve.
A new roadway bridge over the tracks at Toteff road will eliminate delays for cars and trucks having to stop at the railroad crossing. This new siding track adds capacity, reducing conflicts between passenger and freight trains and improves reliability for both.
These improvements improve service reliability and will allow Amtrak Cascades to run two additional round trips between Seattle and Portland.
- Dispatcher-controlled freight train arrival and departure, allowing Amtrak Cascades to move through the area quicker
- Grade separation greatly increases safety by eliminating train-surface traffic interaction;
- Allows passenger trains to move around freight trains traveling into and out of the Port of Kalama;
- Improves passenger train reliability and accommodates increases in passenger train frequency.
What is the project timeline?
Preliminary engineering work began in early 2012. Environmental studies have begun with final design following in early 2014. WSDOT expects to kick off construction at the end of 2014 and be using the new siding by fall 2017.
WSDOT received federal high speed rail funds from the 2009 Recovery and Reinvestment Act, administered by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).
- American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) - $36.5 million
How can I get more information?
WSDOT Rail Division
PO Box 47407
Olympia, WA 98504-7407
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