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Rail News: Communication and Signal

Washington transportation panel OKs grade-crossing safety grants


The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) has approved nearly $1.5 million in rail safety improvement grants between 2017 and 2019, including funds for projects along crude-by-rail routes, state officials announced Monday.

Awarded through the state's Grade Crossing Protective Fund, the commission approved $1.14 million to install or improve active warning devices at three crossings along oil routes, and $344,000 to improve safety pedestrians and drivers around railroad tracks.

The grants for safety projects along oil routes included:
• $438,174 to Snohomish County to install active warning devices at the 48th Avenue NW crossing near Stanwood;
• $406,060 to Skamania County to upgrade active warning devices at the Butler Road crossing near Stevenson; and
• $295,311 the city of Millwood to install active warning devices at the Marguerite Street crossing.

Other grants distributed for safety improvements included:
• $90,840 to Puget Sound & Pacific Railroad to upgrade train detection, replace batteries and battery chargers, and update signal plans and software at the East Heron Street, Chehalis Street, Newell Street and Tyler Road crossings in Aberdeen;
• $77,096 to Central Washington Railroad to upgrade train detection at the West Second Street and Grandridge Road crossings in Grandview and Division Street and Sunnyside Avenue crossings in Granger; and
• $40,597 to Cascade & Columbia River Railroad Co. to upgrade the train detection system at the Fourth Street crossing in Tonasket.

“Washington’s railroads are vital to our economy, transporting passengers and valuable cargo, as well as hazardous materials,” said UTC Chairman Dave Danner. “These grants help ensure that rail operations do not compromise the safety of Washington communities.”

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