Representatives of the Washington State Department of Transportation have indicated that the track and infrastructure design for the Connell Rail Interchange Project is 100 percent completed.
The Connell Rail Interchange is a key rail interchange in eastern Washington where the Columbia Basin rail line intersects with BNSF Railway’s Lakeside Subdivision line, which runs between Spokane and Pasco, Wash. The Columbia Basin rail line goes through the heart of the Columbia Basin in eastern Washington and serves Moses Lake, Wheeler, Schrag, Warden, Othello, Royal City, Bruce, and Connell in Grant, Adams, and Franklin counties.
Over the past several years, a significant amount of economic development and growth has been occurring in communities on the Columbia Basin rail line, especially in Grant and Adams counties. As a result, the Columbia Basin rail line has become one of the busiest rail short lines in Washington State, with approximately 10,000 carloads of various agricultural, industrial commodities and other cargo being hauled annually for about 60 active rail shippers in the Columbia Basin, which employ nearly 7,000 people in Grant and Adams counties.
The Connell Rail Interchange was built nearly 100 years ago, and the configuration of the interchange was outdated and inefficient. Consequently, the Connell Rail Interchange needed to be upgraded and improved to accommodate the tremendous growth in rail cargo that is flowing to and through Connell.
In 2015, the Connell Rail Interchange Project received $10 million in funding from the Washington State legislature. The funding will partially complete the project, but now that the track and infrastructure design for the project is 100 percent completed, the project has become eligible for other sources of federal and state funding.