- Crews are finishing up work on the last of six total project sites.
- The federally funded program for passenger rail improvements includes six slope stabilization projects (map pdf 186kb) Two projects were constructed in 2013 and finished in early 2014. Crews started work on the four remaining sites in summer 2015. Three are complete and the final one will be done by early summer 2016.
- WSDOT and BSNF are working together on prevention/repair strategies like retaining walls, improved drainage systems and erosion control. This blog provides more information.
WSDOT is taking several steps to help prevent landslides (pdf 2.1MB) – and train service disruptions – along the Amtrak Cascades corridor for passenger rail service, including:
- Forming the Landslide Mitigation Work Group, which includes BNSF Railway Company, Sound Transit, Amtrak, and several municipal and state agencies.
- Researching landslide causes and locations to identify high-risk areas along the rail corridor and writing the Landslide Mitigation Action Plan (pdf 2mb).
- Participating in community engagement events in Edmonds, Mukilteo and Everett.
- Mailing a landslide prevention informational brochure (pdf 2.5 mb) to all property owners along the rail line from Seattle to Everett.
- Using federal funds to design six slope stabilization projects, two of which have been constructed. Work includes:
- Retaining walls to catch landslide debris before it hits the tracks
- Slide detection fences to give early warnings of active landslides
- Improved drainage systems
- Erosion control
Why is WSDOT
working to increase the reliability of Washington's rail corridor?
Amtrak Cascades carried approximately 232,000 passengers in 2014 between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia. Sometimes during the rainy season, service is disrupted by landslides along the northern rail line. After each such landslide, passenger trains are halted for 48 hours while nearby slopes are evaluated and tracks are cleared and verified for safe passenger train travel.
Washington state received $16.1 million in federal funding to identify, design and construct slope stabilization projects along tracks from Vancouver, Washington to the Canadian border. Based on geotechnical investigations and historical data on landslides, the federally funded landslide mitigation effort for the passenger rail line focuses on the area between Seattle and Everett.
The End Result
The slope stabilization projects will reduce passenger train disruptions due to landslides and improve on-time performance for Amtrak Cascades trains.
- Fewer service disruptions from landslides means more reliable passenger rail
- Enhanced safety
- Property damage minimized and response costs reduced
What is the project timeline?
In late 2012, the preliminary engineering phase began evaluating slide potential of slopes along the northern rail line. The team narrowed the slope stabilization effort to six projects in a slope-prone area between Seattle and Everett. Work on two projects near Mukilteo and Everett began in 2013 and was finished in early 2014. Work on the remaining four sites began in the summer of 2015. Three of those four projects are complete and the final one will be completed in late spring/early summer of 2016.
WSDOT received federal high speed rail funds from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) administers the federal funds.
Project Budget: $16.4 million
How can I get more information?
WSDOT Rail Division
PO Box 47407
Olympia, WA 98504-7407
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