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3/7/2012



Rail News: Passenger Rail

Sound Transit schedules meetings on light-rail expansion, wins federal grant for climate change study


Starting next week, Sound Transit plans to host a series of community meetings to solicit public opinions on potential light-rail station and alignment locations between the Northgate area and Lynnwood, Wash.

The new light rail line that the agency is preparing to build along the Interstate-5 corridor is part of the Sound Transit 2 extensions to the north, east and south approved by voters in 2008. The information from the public sessions will help agency staff develop an Environmental Impact Statement for the project, Sound Transit officials said in a prepared statement.

Meanwhile, the agency will receive a $105,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration to study the potential impact of climate change on infrastructure and operations. The study will be led by the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group, which will build on a pilot study completed by the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The Sound Transit Climate Risk Reduction Project will recommend initial strategies to prepare for and minimize the effects of climate change on the region’s transportation systems.

Based on scientific data on global warming trends, the potential impacts could include flooding of coastal roads, railways and subterranean tunnels; damage to rail-bed support structures, rails and roadways caused by increased flooding, landslides and mudslides; thermal expansion of bridge expansion joints and pavement softening due to more extreme heat; and limits on construction periods because of weather conditions, Sound Transit officials said.

The project’s results are expected to be incorporated into the agency’s ISO 14001 certified Environmental and Sustainability Management System, which holds the agency “accountable” for meeting its sustainability goals, they said.



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