Friday, October 19, 2012

Washington UTC approves funds to improve safety at King County crossing

The state of Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) has approved $20,000 from the Grade Crossing Protective Fund (GCPF) to pay for upgrades at a railroad-highway grade crossing in King County.

The crossing is located at the intersection of State Route 202/Bendigo St. (SR 202) and Northwest Railway Museum's tracks in the city of North Bend.

Northwest Railway, which uses the crossing for passenger trains, proposes to increase the length of the westbound approach block to a minimum of 270 feet from the present 238 feet. Extending the approach block to 270 feet will allow Northwest Railway to increase the total warning time for users at the crossing from 32 to 40 seconds. The railroad company states that during heavy traffic times, cars do not always properly clear the crossing before the gates descend. This upgrade will improve the overall safety at the crossing because all vehicles will clear the crossing before the gates lower.

SR 202 is a three-lane roadway with a posted speed limit of 30 miles per hour. The average daily traffic through the crossing is estimated at 11,060, which include motor vehicles and six school buses. No freight trains operate over the crossing.

The upgrades must be completed by March 1, 2013. State GCPF funding is limited to $20,000 for the project. The approximate cost of the project is $42,300. Northwest Railway will pay the excess costs.

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