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Point Defiance Bypass environmental study now complete

Engineers recently completed the environmental study for the Washington State Department of Transportation's (WDOT) Point Defiance Bypass project.

The $89 million project calls for rerouting passenger trains from the BNSF Railway Co. mainline near Point Defiance, located along Puget Sound, to an existing, lesser-used inland rail line that travels through Tacoma, Lakewood and DuPont. The bypass will enable Amtrak to shorten travel times for its Cascades trains and operate more service between Seattle and Portland, Ore.

Nearly 50 freight and passenger trains currently operate along the Point Defiance route each day.

Later this month, WSDOT and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) will hold public hearings and open houses to provide information and solicit feedback on the project. Once the FRA issues a record of decision on the project, WSDOT can begin work.

Trains are scheduled to begin operating on the bypass in 2017.

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