Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Hazardous Materials Consultant Says Oil Train Derailment Could Be Extremely Challenging

Photo courtesy the Spokesman-Review
Two to three oil trains a day travel through the area on over a mile of elevated train tracks that run right through downtown Spokane. An article in today's Spokesman-Review says the proximity of the tracks to Spokane’s most densely populated area makes downtown particularly vulnerable in the event of an oil train derailment.

A hazardous materials and emergency planning consultant for the city of Spokane testified last week before the state’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, which is reviewing a proposed oil terminal in Vancouver, Washington. If built, the terminal could mean up to four additional oil trains daily through Spokane.

The Spokane Fire Department and mutual aid crews might be able to control a derailment in sparsely populated areas of the city but a downtown derailment would pose “extreme challenges. There is a lot more to this story at the link above.

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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.