Thursday, September 10, 2015

Railroads Say They Won't Work Together On Bridging the Valley Project

From where we sit, this didn't come as a big surprise, but the Spokane Valley Herald is reporting that the Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific railroads will most likely not partner to work with Spokane Valley to separate train traffic from the roadway for the Bridging the Valley (BTV) series of projects.

Bridging the Valley originated at SRTC. It was a series of over- and underpasses stretching from the City of Spokane to Athol, ID that would reduce the number of at-grade railroad crossings where vehicles could come in contact with trains.

At a recent Spokane Valley City Council meeting, representatives from Sen. Patty Murray's office
and BNSF said a partnership was unlikely. The original  plan was for the two competing railroads to use the same main lines through the region, reducing the number of grade-separations necessary.

Trains servicing and switching cars at the Inland Empire Paper mill in Millwood often  back up traffic to Trent to the south during busy drive times. Other crossings, such as at Trent and Barker, have about 50 trains that go through per day. A BTV project to construct a bridge over that crossing is estimated to cost $29.2 million, and efforts to secure state and federal funding haven't been successful so far.


Charles Hansen said...

That is too bad, I ended up waiting for a Union Pacific train going very slow at Sprague and Freya a few weeks ago.

SRTC Staff said...

When I was trying to get to the Felts Field Neighbor Days event a couple Saturdays ago, there was a trail stopped blocking access to Felts Field. There was a flagger out front who directed me about a mile down the road and around the train but he said it was shift change so the train would be blocking the crossing for about an hour!

About SRTC

SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.