State approves funds to improve safety at Mason County railroad crossing
OLYMPIA, Wash. – State regulators today approved funds to improve the safety at a railroad crossing in Mason County.
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) approved $20,000 from the Grade Crossing Protective Fund (GCPF) to pay for upgrades at a railroad-highway grade crossing at the intersection of Old State Route 101 (SR-101) and Puget Sound & Pacific Railroad (PSAP) tracks near the city of Shelton.
The railroad company plans to use the funds to upgrade the existing flashing lights to long-lasting, energy efficient flashing LED lights, replace two sets of cross buck signs, upgrade the motion-sensor train detection technology and install a surge protection panel.
These improvements will increase the overall safety at the crossing for motorists and pedestrians, who will be able to rely on these active warning devices to determine if a train is approaching the crossing.
Old SR-101 is a two-lane roadway with a speed limit of 35 miles per hour. Including 11 school buses, the average annual daily traffic across the crossing is more than 2,000 vehicles. Two freight trains a day operate at 25 miles per hour over the crossing. No passenger trains travel over the crossing.
The upgrades must be completed by June 30, 2013.
State GCPF funding is limited to $20,000 for the project. The approximate cost of the project is $24,672.93. PSAP will pay the difference of $4,672.93.
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.