November 2013 – in review
In this issue:
Landslide open house for landowners
Property owners who live in areas affected by landslides along the BNSF tracks are invited to an open house Dec. 11 hosted by WSDOT, City of Mukilteo, and City of Everett. It will be held at the City Council Chambers, 11930 Cyrus Way, Mukilteo, WA 98275. Representatives of WSDOT, City of Everett, City of Mukilteo, Sound Transit and BNSF will be on hand to answer questions and provide information about how to help prevent landslides and what to look for as warning signs for a potential landslide. According to the recently published brochure, How landslides affect your property, costs to property owners could include lowered property value, increased insurance rates, loss of land, clean-up and repair of property and building structures, and liability for damage to other properties. The brochure highlights steps that the landowner can take to maintain and improve their property with vegetation, drainage, and construction setbacks.
Rail program reimbursements ramping up
In November 2013, FRA reimbursed WSDOT more than $8 million for rail improvements. This kicks off a projected $20 million in reimbursement per month over the next 2 ½ years. With $60 million reimbursed and an estimated additional $60 million in the billing system, the program is more than 15 percent complete. Three projects are complete, six are in construction, and eight will begin construction be the end of 2014. These reimbursements for the Cascades High Speed Rail Program demonstrate WSDOT’s commitment to creating jobs in planning, design and construction, which is a major goal of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and Governor Inslee’s Results Washington.
Second landslide mitigation project
With the completion of the second of six projects within Task 17-Corridor Reliability Supplemental Work, WSDOT made improvements to reduce slope failure incidents that could disrupt rail service along the BNSF main line near Everett. Located at railroad milepost 29.5, crews constructed a 10-foot-high by 840-foot-long catchment wall and will construct a slide detection fence above the catchment wall in December 2013. Additional landslide mitigation projects will be constructed in 2014.
Hoquiam Horn Spur construction
Funded by a $350,000 grant from the Federal Railroad Administration, the Hoquiam Horn Spur is ready for construction. The contract will be awarded to American Construction from Tacoma, WA. The pier, damaged in a 2009 flood, will be replaced with a dolphin barrier. When the bridge is open, the new barrier will prevent boats from hitting the bridge. Construction is expected to begin Dec. 31, 2013, and work will be completed mid-February 2014. The Puget Sound and Pacific Railroad uses the bridge to transport goods to the Port of Grays Harbor and other nearby businesses.
Tacoma Regional Access Mobility Partnership, Tacoma Propeller Club, and All Aboard Washington
Accomplishments and future plans for rail projects in Washington state are being highlighted in November and December in several WSDOT presentations to community groups and organizations. For the Tacoma Regional Access Mobility Partnership (RAMP), the Rail Division staff gave an overall status of the federally funded rail projects, including the Point Defiance Bypass. RAMP is a regional coalition that includes business, labor, public and private organizations and citizens dedicated to improved mobility in the South Sound area and Washington state. The Tacoma Propeller Club, a nonprofit organization comprised of a broad cross-section of maritime industry users, was interested in federally-funded passenger capital rail improvements. For the All Aboard Washington, Rail Division staff will highlight rail projects along Washington state’s Amtrak Cascades corridor. All Aboard Washington is a rail organization that advocates for Northwest area rail improvement.
Discovering rail through GIS
Maps of the Amtrak Cascades rail corridor, created by two Rail Division staff, were featured Nov. 30 during the “Discovering the World through GIS,” an event including 21 presentations from agencies throughout the state. One Rail Division’s presentation explained how GIS is a mapping tool to help plan passenger rail service by identifying travel needs based on station location, where people live and station use. The other Rail Division GIS project showed the Point Defiance Bypass project map, with posters and other displays accompanying presentations.