WSDOT Project Status Report:
Posted in April, 2009
WSDOT is working with the city and Port of Bellingham on this project. The cost estimate for relocating the main line along the preferred alignment identified in the study is $10.7 million, which is $5.7 million more than what is currently available for construction.
Site investigations performed during the study revealed evidence of possible ancient fishing activities near the proposed route of the relocated rail line. With approval from the federal government, the BNSF Railway, and local tribes, WSDOT and the city will perform more detailed site investigations in April 2009.
The 2008 Washington State Legislature moved the $5.0 million in state construction funds appropriated for this project from the current biennium to the 2009-2011 biennium. This action will allow local leaders and others to secure additional funds for the rail relocation and roadway improvement projects.
2009 -2011 biennium did not appropriate funds for this project.
WSDOT Overview of Burlington Northern Rail relocation project.
The city and Port of Bellingham intend to redevelop the former Georgia Pacific industrial site in downtown Bellingham for commercial, recreational, and residential uses. This effort is known as the Waterfront District Redevelopment Project. For more information, please go to Waterfront District Redevelopment Project page.
Why is WSDOT participating in the city of Bellingham's waterfront redevelopment project?
The waterfront restoration project includes removing a sharp curve in the BNSF Railway's main line track near the former Georgia Pacific site and relocating the railroad tracks further to the east.
The relocated tracks will allow passenger and freight trains moving through the area to travel at slightly higher speeds.
The End Result
WSDOT will relocate a section of the BNSF Railway main line track.
The city and Port of Bellingham will have new waterfront land available for development
Trains on the BNSF Railway tracks can maintain higher speeds in the area.
What is the project timeline?
The project does not have enough funding to complete construction. As a result, the Washington State Legislature has moved the state's $5.0 million from the current biennium to the 2009-2011 biennium. If additional funds can be secured, the earliest the project could be completed is June 2011. (Funding was not secured).
Looking for additional information on the WSDOT rails project?
The waterfront restoration project includes removing a sharp curve at the site of a Georgia Pacific (GP) mill. When it is removed, passenger and freight trains will not have to slow down when traveling through the area and can maintain higher speeds. The city and Port of Bellingham will then have new waterfront land available for development.
How can I get more information?
WSDOT State Rail and Marine Office
PO Box 47407
Olympia, WA 98504-7407
E-mail: Kirk Fredrickson