Cantwell Announces New $1.246M Rail Safety Grant for Spokane Valley

Grant will help fund safety improvements to Pines Road, Trent Avenue railway crossing

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate transportation committee, announced Spokane Valley won a $1.246 million rail infrastructure grant for the proposed Pines Road/BNSF Grade Separation Project. The grant, from the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement (CRISI) program at the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), will fund upgrades to improve public safety, commercial and residential traffic flow, and quality of life for residents in the area. 

“Separating the BNSF railway from the Pines Road intersection is an important step to keep Spokane Valley moving,” Senator Cantwell said. “This project will reduce traffic delays, improve safety and access, and increase the quality of life for residents and commuters throughout the community.” 

The proposed grade separation project will remove an existing intersection between the highway and railway, eliminating the risk of serious injuries or fatalities and reducing traffic delays. It will also ensure constant access for emergency vehicles needing to access the area, while removing the need for 58 daily train horns and improving the ease of access to more than 150 acres of industrial and mixed-use property in Spokane Valley. Senator Cantwell wrote a letter supporting the project in July 2018. 

Currently, almost 94% of east-west rail traffic in Washington state travels through the corridor, including the Pines Road intersection. On average, 56 freight and two passenger trains pass through each day, and with the projected increase of train traffic through the Spokane region, this number is expected to grow to 114 daily trains by 2035. 

This heavy rail traffic causes an average of more than 20,000 delays at the intersection each year, representing more than 1,000 hours of railway-related gate closures.