South Kelso Railroad Crossing Project

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The City of Kelso is moving forward with design and construction of the South Kelso Railroad Crossing Project. The project includes an overcrossing structure that spans South Pacific Avenue and the BNSF tracks, extensions of 3rd Avenue and Hazel Street, and the closure of two existing at-grade crossings to through-traffic.

Approved by the Kelso City Council in 2013, this project will enable the City to improve railroad crossing safety, provide pedestrian and bicycle facilities on the new bridge and roadways, and maintain traffic safety as future development takes place. Planning for the project has included the City of Kelso, Cowlitz County, WSDOT Rail and outreach to the public.

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The two at-grade intersections currently serving the area of South Kelso east of the Cowlitz River and west of the railroad grade are located at Mill Street and Yew Street.  Both crossings have poor sight distance due to the railroad grade and the roadway approaches to the tracks. The railroad corridor between Kelso and Martin’s Bluff has also received the addition of a third rail through Kelso, increasing the crossing length and making the need for increasing safety at the rail crossings even more important. Both at-grade crossings are proposed for closure to through-traffic as part of the overcrossing project.

Project improvements will include roadway and bridge work, bicycle lanes and sidewalks on the new roadways and bridge, utility relocations, and underground storm drainage. The project will require easements and additional property at some locations to construct the new improvements. The project is fully funded by the State of Washington as part of the Connecting Washington funding package passed in 2015.

The current project schedule includes design and permitting work in 2018 and 2019; right-of-way acquisition in 2020; and construction to begin in late 2021.

Documents of Interest:

South Kelso Railroad Crossing Study

South Kelso Railroad Crossing Council Presentation - 8/21/18

South Kelso Railroad Crossing Council Presentation - 1/2/19