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Rail News: Maintenance Of Way

Washington port lands federal grant for BNSF overpass; UP advances trackwork between two states


The Port of Ridgefield, Wash., will receive $3.5 million in federal funding for the Pioneer Street railroad overpass project. The funds will come from state highway grants the U.S. Department of Transportation allocated to the Washington State Department of Transportation, port officials said in a prepared statement.

The $12.5 million project calls for building an overpass over BNSF Railway Co. tracks to extend Pioneer Street, the main road leading into the city of Ridgefield, to the waterfront.

To begin in fall 2012, the project will enable the city to close up to three grade crossings, including the Mill Street crossing, which has been ranked the state’s fifth most dangerous crossing. The project also will increase BNSF’s mainline capacity through the Portland, Ore., area, better accommodating the 70 to 80 trains that pass through Ridgefield daily, according to the port. In addition, the overpass will play a role in the extension of a high-speed rail corridor between Eugene, Ore., and Vancouver, British Columbia, port officials said.

The federal funds will cover 30 percent of the project’s cost, said Port of Ridgefield Executive Director Brent Grening. The port has committed to provide $2 million; city, $1.2 million; and BNSF, $600,000.

Meanwhile, Union Pacific Railroad plans to spend more than $7 million to upgrade a 24-mile line between St. Paul, Minn., and Hudson, Wis.

The project calls for removing and installing rail and more than 40,000 ties, renewing surfaces at 26 grade crossings and spreading 12,850 tons of ballast. The trackwork is part of UP’s $3.3 billion capital spending budget for 2011.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/19/2011