Monday, February 25, 2013

Main Street crossing reconstruction

"We've been working on the railroad" and there is another new highway crossing to show for! 

Railroad crossings represent one of the bigger funding challenges for the Northwest Railway Museum.  With a total of 18 roadway crossings, the Museum devotes significant resources towards maintenance and reconstruction.  This latest project cost was in excess of $51,000 and replaced a double track crossing in downtown North Bend, which was required to continued operating trains into the North Bend Depot.

Concrete panels arrive and await
installation on Main Street as an
excavator sets the grade.
Main Street was last reconstructed in 1988.  Normally, a new double track crossing of that size would have cost over $100,000 and there was no funding to perform work on that scale.  Fortunately, the Museum was able to leverage several opportunities to make the project viable.

The Museum learned about a small track removal project in the City of Redmond, about 20 miles from the Museum.  There, two concrete tub crossings that were installed in 1997 were being removed to allow installation of a new sewer.  Often, used tub crossings are scrapped because they are difficult to remove without damage.  So with little commercial value, the City of Redmond was able to donate the panels to the Museum.  In the end, of the 70 panels removed, 40 were reclaimed, repaired and reused.  This “saved” the Museum over $35,000 versus the cost of new crossing tubs.
The new crossing takes shape on Main
Street in North Bend.  Concrete tubs
eliminate the use of railroad ties in the
The Museum was able to secure a grant from the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (“WUTC”).  The WUTC is one of the agencies that provide regulatory oversight of the Museum’s railway.   They maintain a Grade Crossing Protective Fund, which awarded a $20,000 grant towards the cost of new welded rail and its installation. 

Other important project support came from the City of North Bend, which provided all the traffic control required to close the road and detour traffic, and forgave three years of user fees for the North Bend Depot for a combined benefit of over $11,000.
The crossing has been completed; it opened as soon as the
asphalt cooled.

And the Museum was able to secure some relay rail for the side track (new rail was used on the main).  As well, the Museum's dedicated volunteers were able to perform the required repairs on the used crossing panels.

The project allowed for six days of construction but it was completed in less than five.  RailWorks Track Systems, Asphalt by George, and Snoqualmie's Imhoff Contractor Crane Service performed the balance of the work.