Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Washington state Oks funds to improve three crossings

Washington state regulators approved funds to improve the safety of three railroad crossings in Kelso, Longview and Oakesdale, Wash.

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) approved $40,000 from the Grade Crossing Protective Fund (GCPF) to pay for upgrading warning devices at two railroad-highway grade crossings in Kelso and Longview, Wash.

The railroad crossing in Kelso is located at the intersection of Columbia Heights Road and the Columbia & Cowlitz Railway's tracks. In Longview, the crossing is at the intersection of Washington Way and the railway's tracks.

In Kelso, the railroad plans to install new shoulder-mounted gates, LED flashing lights and replace the existing warning bell with an electronic model. The railway also proposes to install a new electronic-signal circuitry and upgrade train detection.

In Longview, the railroad plans to change the existing 12-foot cantilevers with a 24-foot variety and replace cantilever foundations and crossbucks. In addition, LED flashing lights will be installed and the current warning bell will be substituted with an electronic-warning bell.

UTC also approved $20,000 for warning devices at a grade crossing at the intersection of State Route 271 (SR-271) and the Washington & Idaho Railway's (WIR) tracks near the city of Oakesdale, Wash.

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) plans to use the funds to install new cantilever gates with LED flashing lights. In addition, WSDOT is proposing to replace the old-style bungalow with a newer model, install constant-warning train detection and replace all underground signal cable.

State GCPF funding is limited to $20,000 for each of the three projects. The approximate cost of Kelso project is $23,350. The railroad will pay the difference of $3,350. The Longview project will cost about $21,600 with the railroad paying the difference of $1,600. UTC staff is helping to provide surplus equipment at each crossing. The approximate cost of the Oakesdale project is $52,367.30. WSDOT will pay the difference of $32,367.30. Upgrades to all three crossings must be completed by June 30, 2013.

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