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Stanwood, Wash., train platform late, over budget

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Construction of the new passenger train platform in Stanwood, Wash., is costing more than anticipated, and the platform might not be open until just before Thanksgiving for people who want to ride the rail, according to the Everett, Wash. Herald. Nevertheless, people in Stanwood are watching eagerly as the Amtrak Cascades stop takes shape along the BNSF tracks in east downtown.

Work crews from Interwest
Construction of Burlington occasionally remind people snapping photos to be
careful not to step out into the middle of 271st Street NW, said Kirk
Fredrickson, project manager with the state Department of Transportation.

Mayor Dianne White also
remains enthusiastic about the rail station, though she has worried about
delays and resulting costs.

The $5 million project
got the OK from the state Legislature in 2006. The completion date has been
moved ahead numerous times, with the current finish set for about Nov. 11,
Fredrickson said. Amtrak service would begin soon after completion.

The latest delay occurred
after crews began work in April, when it was discovered that soil in a small
area of the construction site was contaminated with lead. It wasn’t a large
amount of lead, but it took two months to follow the proper steps required by
the Department of Ecology to get it cleaned up, Fredrickson said.

White can’t help but
wonder why transportation officials didn’t anticipate the lead contamination
and write possible removal into the project budget. The cleanup cost $100,000,
Fredrickson said.

That’s an amount that
could have gone to help the city build a public restroom near the new train
platform, White said.

"I’ve given up on the
transportation department as far the restroom goes. The city has the sewer line
in there already, so we’ll try to get it built," she said. "Not that the city
has the money."

Design problems and
negotiations with BNSF over the use of the railroad tracks accounted for much
of the delay over the past four years since the project was funded, he said.

When completed, the
passenger platform will allow Amtrak Cascades trains to stop in Stanwood
several times a day. Passengers will buy their tickets online or over the phone
and board the train with their reservation information in hand.

The 600-foot-long
train-passenger platform includes covered ramps, railings, shelters and
seating, with lighting and landscaping.

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