Rail removal expected to begin by end of August; end in October
Three weeks after the federal Surface Transportation Board decided in the City’s favor allowing removal of the rails, A&K Railroad Materials, Inc. (Salt Lake City, Utah), is getting ready to begin salvage work. Expected to begin in late August and to be completed by the end of October, the work will also include restoration of all disturbed areas to match preconstruction or better conditions. During project work, A & K will provide, install, and maintain temporary slope and erosion control using best management practices to protect sensitive areas. City crews will follow the contractor during rail removal and complete needed ditch maintenance in order to improve drainage. The railbed, which is the elevated gravel area, will remain intact as the City develops future options for future regional rail. The rail removal work will not include removing the rails and repaving of the nine existing street crossing locations. This will be done in a future contract as part of interim trail construction scheduled to begin in early 2014. Subscribe to project updates at www.kirklandwa.gov/crosskirklandcorridor or call the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) 24-hour project line at 425-587-3838.
“There is great excitement about the future of the Corridor,” acknowledges Kurt Triplett, City Manager. “This work continues the realization of the longtime vision of City leaders and the community to create a destination that enhances Kirkland’s livability. Once the rail materials are gone, construction will begin on the Interim Trail which is envisioned to be a multi-use regional facility connecting communities around and across Lake Washington.”
Design for the Interim Trail is about 60 percent complete and construction is anticipated to begin in early 2014 and be finished in the spring of 2014. The Interim Trail will be built on the existing railbed and will have all-weather crushed gravel extending from the South Kirkland Park and Ride at 108th Avenue Northeast to Totem Lake at 132nd Avenue Northeast. Road crossings will be upgraded to include new signage, lighting, markings and in some locations rapid flashing crosswalk beacons. Additionally, railing or fencing will be installed where required for safety and to protect sensitive areas.
The City also continues its outreach efforts on the Cross Kirkland Corridor Master Plan. The City’s consultant, Berger Partnership, will present initial findings to the Transportation Commission on August 28, 2013 with a City Council study session scheduled for September 17, 2013. Information will also be presented at the October 19, 2013 Community Planning Day to be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Peter Kirk Community Center.
Funding for the Cross Kirkland Corridor Interim Trail is supported by the voter-approved Parks Levy, state and other agency grants and the City’s Capital Improvement Program. The work required to remove the steel rail, the miscellaneous hardware and railroad crossties is estimated to cost less than the current market value of the salvageable material. A sizable percentage of the existing rail material is highly sought after by “short-haul” railroad companies. As a result, it is anticipated that the removal of the rail material and grading of the railbed will bring a credit of approximately $35,000 to the City.
In April 2012, the City purchased a 5.75 mile segment of the Eastside Rail Corridor; naming it the “Cross Kirkland Corridor” for recreation, transportation and economic development purposes. Currently, there are 1,100 businesses with 11,000 employees along the Cross Kirkland Corridor within 2,000 feet of the Corridor including Evergreen Medical Center, Google, Nintendo and Astronics.