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Docket number: TR-121075 & 121076
State approves funds to improve safety at two Stevens County railroad crossings
OLYMPIA, Wash. – State regulators today approved funds to improve the safety at two railroad crossings in Stevens County.
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) approved more than $26,000 from the Grade Crossing Protective Fund (GCPF) to upgrade warning devices at two railroad-highway grade crossings in the city of Kettle Falls
The two rail improvement projects are located at the intersections of Juniper St. and Meyers St. and Kettle Falls International Railway (KFI) tracks in Kettle Falls.
KFI plans to use the funds to improve the signal equipment at both crossings by upgrading flashing lights to long-lasting, energy efficient flashing LED lights, replace the system batteries and install an electronic bell with newer motion detection technology.
These upgrades will improve the overall safety at the crossing because motorists and pedestrians can rely on the new warning devices to determine if a train is approaching the crossing. LED flashing lights provide greater visibility for motorists.
Juniper St. is a four-lane roadway with a speed limit of 25 miles per hour. On average each day, about 1,500 cars cross the tracks. Up to 17 trains going 10 miles per hour travel the tracks. Meyers St. is a four-lane roadway with a speed limit of 25 miles per hour. Average number of vehicles travelling through the crossing each day is estimated at 2,400. In addition, up to 17 trains operating at 10 miles per hour travel the tracks. Approximately 76 school buses cross over both crossings on a regular basis.
The upgrades must be completed by Feb. 28, 2013. KFI is contributing an additional $10,441 toward the cost of equipment for the projects.
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.