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Rail Monthly Update

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September 2014 – in review

In this issue:
• WSDOT plans public meeting for Freighthouse Square
• WSDOT holds landslide prevention open house for residents along the north rail line
• Public comment period ends on Kelso Martin’s Bluff environmental study
• King Street Station track upgrades project moves forward

WSDOT plans public meeting for Freighthouse Square
Eight innovative strategies for community engagement are being implemented during the preliminary engineering phase for the Amtrak station at Tacoma’s Freighthouse Square. Strategies range from integrating a CAC representative in the WSDOT design team to an online survey with open-ended questions on the three design elements. During this phase of the project, WSDOT is participating in four citizen advisory committee (CAC) meetings to share preliminary concepts for the exterior, ceiling and beams and to listen to the CAC members’ ideas. The WSDOT design team is refining the preliminary design concepts, based on information from the CAC meetings, WSDOT’s online survey, letters and emails, and the CAC’s questionnaire to their members. Prior to the public meeting on Oct. 30, 2014, WSDOT will brief the City of Tacoma, Tacoma city council and mayor, legislators, Amtrak, Sound Transit, building owner and manager, and others about the preferred preliminary design for the station.

WSDOT holds landslide prevention open house for residents along the north rail line
The third community engagement event on landslide prevention for north rail line residents was held Oct. 9, 2014, in Edmonds. Speakers included WSDOT, City of Edmonds, and Washington Department of Natural Resources. In addition, representatives from Sound Transit, BNSF, Town of Woodway and other local municipalities were on hand to answer questions and provide resources for further information. Residents from Edmonds, Woodway, Mukilteo and Edmonds learned what they could do to help prevent landslides on their property. The Landslide Mitigation Working Group, led by WSDOT and composed of 17 agencies and private companies, recently produced the How Landslides Affect Your Property brochure and Landslide Mitigation Action Plan.

Public comment period ends on Kelso Martin’s Bluff environmental study
WSDOT and FRA are reviewing public comments on the Kelso Martin’s Bluff environmental assessment (EA) for the third mainline and infrastructure improvements in the vicinity of the Port of Kalama and Port of Longview (Task 5 and 6). Comments were accepted at the Sept. 18, 2014, public hearing and from emails and letters until Sept. 27, 2014. WSDOT and FRA are also considering how best to address issues from the comments by agencies and the public before the project advances to final design. The purpose of the project is to alleviate train congestion in the area, improve schedule reliability for passenger rail service and travel times, and increase the number of passenger rail trips between Seattle and Portland.

King Street Station track upgrades project moves forward
Progress on the King Street Station Track Upgrades (Task 10) took a major step forward in June 2014 by securing Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) approval for the project’s conceptual design. WSDOT/Amtrak can now begin preliminary engineering work. Officials from WSDOT, Sound Transit, Amtrak, BNSF and FRA met for a joint working group in Seattle, where the WSDOT/Amtrak team walked FRA through the conceptual design. The project includes new tracks and switches to allow for more efficient train movements between Amtrak’s Seattle Maintenance Facility and the westerly platforms of King Street Station. The station and all rail services must remain open during the work, adding extra challenges to the design and construction. When complete in 2016, the upgrades will better accommodate the growing needs of WSDOT, Amtrak, Sound Transit and BNSF.

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