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US-12 Highway-Rail Separation Project in Aberdeen awarded over $2 million

From Senator Cantwell's Facebook Page

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell announced that a total of $60 million in federal grants has been awarded to four critical Washington state transportation infrastructure projects including one locally.

The awards were made through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant program.

This is the first time four RAISE grants have been awarded at once to Washington state, which also received the second most funding of any state in the nation.

 Senator Cantwell, in her position as Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, helped secure $7.5 billion for the RAISE program – a 50% annual increase – in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), signed into law yesterday by President Biden.  

The following RAISE grants were awarded to Washington state projects:

US-12 Highway-Rail Separation Project, Aberdeen — $2.08 million  

“This grant will help eliminate three highway-rail grade crossings along a critical stretch of Highway 12 in downtown Aberdeen that cut the community in half. It will improve safety and reduce congestion for freight bound for the Port of Grays Harbor,” said Senator Cantwell. “With each train blocking access to Olympic Gateway Plaza for up to half an hour, this project is sorely needed to reduce delays and ensure emergency vehicles can access the area.”

The grant will allow the City to complete the planning phase of the project. 

It is also said that the project will also reduce delays to the Port of Grays Harbor.

Currently, US-12 carries 28,000 vehicles per day, and trains can block the seven at-grade crossings in the corridor for up to 30 minutes per train.

The rail crossings also delay truck traffic to the Port of Grays Harbor, which supports approximately 1,500 jobs.

With completion of the planning phase, the City will be eligible to apply for Senator Cantwell’s new $3 billion highway-rail crossing elimination grant program to complete construction. 

In July, Senator Cantwell joined colleagues in sending a letter of support for the grant to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.

In June, she visited Aberdeen to talk about funding for rail crossings improvements with local leaders.

East Marginal Way Corridor Improvement Project, Seattle — $20 million 

“With East Marginal Way greatly deteriorated and congested both by freight traffic and residents impacted by the closure of the West Seattle Bridge, this project will give this critical freight corridor a much-needed facelift. It will allow East Marginal Way to handle heavy truck traffic between port terminals, SoDo railyards and businesses, and I-5, reducing congestion in SoDo while providing a direct connection to the newly renovated Terminal 5 via the lower West Seattle Bridge,” said Senator Cantwell.

The project will allow the city to widen and strengthen the road, making East Marginal Way into a heavy haul corridor so the street can accommodate larger and heavier truck traffic into the port. This will improve access to the lower West Seattle Bridge and Terminal 5 at the Port of Seattle for the 3,700 trucks that use the corridor each day. Additionally, the project is expected to significantly improve congestion by using improved traffic signals, resulting in 8,800 fewer hours of traffic annually.

This $20 million grant award will fully fund the project and allow the city to start construction at the end of 2022. The project will support approximately 533 direct and indirect jobs during construction. Project completion is estimated for 2025. 

In July, Senator Cantwell joined colleagues in sending a letter of support for the grant to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. In August, Cantwell led Deputy Secretary of Transportation Polly Trottenberg on a tour of the area.

Industrial Rail Corridor Expansion (IRCE), Port of Longview — $16 million 

“Today, the number one thing port customers in Washington are looking for is on-dock rail, because they know how important it is for efficiently exporting their cargo to the Asia-Pacific,” said Senator Cantwell. “This investment will allow the Port of Longview to deliver cargo by rail right to the docks while doubling its current rail capacity to meet the needs of existing exporters and new businesses, creating hundreds of new jobs.”

The project will double rail capacity at the port by adding two new rail lines with another four track beds to accommodate future needs and extending the length of the existing two rail lines. The project will allow the port to redevelop Berth 4 for bulk exports like soda ash or agricultural products, enabling the port to find new tenants for the terminal. 

Prospective tenants to the port’s empty property at Barlow Point have also expressed the need for direct on-dock rail connections. The project is estimated to create more than 1,600 jobs over the next 20 years. Project completion is estimated for 2027. The port is a key economic driver for the community, supporting 19,203 local, regional and national jobs and generates $2.8 billion in economic activity.  

In July, Senator Cantwell joined colleagues in sending a letter of support for the grant to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. In August, she visited the Port of Longview to discuss federal funding.

Granite Falls Bridge #102, Snohomish County — $22.1 million  

“The Mountain Loop Highway is a critical alternative route to Darrington and other communities in the North Stillaguamish Valley for both residents and freight. Tragedies like the Oso mudslide have shown the importance of improving these routes. This grant will replace the most deteriorated bridge in Snohomish County with a new, wider structure across the South Fork of the Stillaguamish River to ensure this route remains open,” said Senator Cantwell.

This grant will fully fund the replacement of Granite Falls Bridge #102, which crosses the South Fork of the Stillaguamish River on the Mountain Loop Highway, 1.5 miles outside of the city of Granite Falls. The bridge, built in 1934, is the sole southern access route for the more than 60,000 annual visitors to the area’s hiking and mountain biking trails, and gravel quarry and logging operations that employ over 270 workers. It is also an alternative access route for Darrington and other communities in the North Stillaguamish Valley.

Granite Falls Bridge #102 is the highest priority bridge in need of replacement in Snohomish County and with funding secured, construction is estimated for completion by 2026. In July, Senator Cantwell joined colleagues in sending a letter of support for the grant to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.  

RAISE Grants Awarded to Washington State in the Last Five Years include:

 

  •       $10 million for the Port of Everett’s South Terminal Modernization Project (2016) 
  •       $9.02 million for Spokane Valley’s Barker Road Grade Separation Project (2017) 
  •       $5.6 million for WSDOT’s Rural Rail Rehabilitation project in Whitman, Spokane, and Lincoln Counties. (2018) 
  •       $14.3 million for Spokane County’s Geiger Boulevard Infrastructure Improvement Project (2018)  
  •       $11.3 million for Spokane Airport’s Rail-Truck Transload Facility Project (2019) 
  •       $17.75 million for the Port of Everett’s Mills to Maritime Cargo Terminal Project (2020) 
  •       $7.01 million for the City of Ridgefield’s Pioneer Street Extension Project (2020)  
  •       $5 million for the Port of Hood River’s White Salmon/Hood River Interstate Bridge Replacement Project (2020)  

 The letter of support for East Marginal Way can be found HERE, Snohomish County HERE, Port of Longview HERE, and Aberdeen HERE.


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