State approves funds to improve safety at a Franklin County railroad crossing
OLYMPIA, Wash. – State regulators today approved funds to improve the safety at a railroad crossing in Franklin County.
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) approved $9,686 from the Grade Crossing Protective Fund (GCPF) to pay for a pedestrian warning bell as part of upgrades at a railroad-highway grade crossing at the intersection of West Adams St. and the BNSF Railway tracks in the city of Connell.
The city of Connell also received assistance from the Washington Transportation Improvement Board for sidewalk improvements that will increase safety providing a continuous smooth walking surface to cross the railroad tracks.
West Adams St. is a two-lane roadway with a speed limit of 25 miles per hour. Average number of vehicle traffic through the crossing is estimated at 630, which includes 10 percent commercial motor vehicles and up to 60 school buses a day. About 31 freight and two passenger trains a day operate at 45 miles per hour over the crossing.
The city reports heavy use of the W. Adams St. crossing by pedestrians including many school children. The North Franklin School District recently consolidated the elementary, middle and high schools to a single location on the west side of the crossing. Many school-aged children living on the east side of the crossing use Adams St. to travel to school.
The upgrades must be completed by Dec. 31. State GCPF funding is limited to $9,686 for the project.
The Legislature created the GCPF in 1969 to provide money for safety measures designed to decrease the potential for accidents and fatalities at public and private crossings and along railroad tracks in the state. The UTC administers the fund.
The UTC is the state agency responsible for railroad safety, including approving new grade crossings and closing or altering existing rail crossings. The agency investigates train accidents, inspects public-railroad crossings, approves rail-safety improvement projects and manages Operation Lifesaver, a rail-safety education program in Washington and nationwide.