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TR-121929 & TR-121930
Safety improvements coming to two Pend Oreille County railroad crossings
OLYMPIA, Wash. – State regulators today approved funds to improve the safety of two railroad crossings in Pend Oreille County.
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) approved almost $40,000 from the Grade Crossing Protective Fund (GCPF) to pay for upgrading warning devices at two railroad-highway grade crossings near the city of Newport.
One of the railroad crossings is located at the intersection of State Route 20/Wolfred and the Pend Oreille Valley Railroad (POVR) track near Newport. The other railroad crossing is located at the intersection of State Route 20/Birdhouse and the POVR tracks near Newport.
In both cases, the railway company plans to use the funds to replace the existing cantilever with a walk-out style cantilever which allows warning lights and other devices to be placed at the side of the roadway and above individual traffic lanes. POVR also will install an upgraded bungalow, which houses new electronic-signal circuitry. 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.
SR-20/Wolfred is a two-lane roadway with a posted speed limit of 55 miles per hour. The average annual daily vehicle traffic through the crossing is about 2,136 vehicles, including 10 school buses. The crossing is part of an established truck route, with trucks making up 31 percent of the total daily traffic on this roadway. Two freight trains per day travel over the crossing. No passenger trains operate over the crossing.
SR-20/Birdhouse is a two-lane roadway with a posted speed limit of 55 miles per hour. Average annual daily vehicle traffic through the crossing is estimated at 1,738 vehicles, including six school buses. The crossing is part of an established truck route, with trucks making up 23 percent of the total daily traffic on this roadway. Two freight trains per day operate at 20 miles per hour over the single track mainline crossing. No passenger trains operate over the crossing.
State GCPF funding is limited to almost $20,000 for the each project. UTC staff is also helping to arrange surplus equipment for each crossing. Both projects must be completed by June 30, 2013.
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.