The Port of Ridgefield expects to start construction of the final phase of its Pioneer Street Rail Overpass project in the first quarter 2019. Completion is anticipated to be 12-14 months after the project start date. Upon completion of the Pioneer Rail Overpass, the two existing rail crossings in Ridgefield – one at Division Street and the other at Mill Street – will be closed, although Division Street will be opened in the event of an emergency
In the early 2000s, the Port of Ridgefield envisioned and began its effort to secure the funds required to construct a rail overpass at Pioneer Street. When completed, the overpass will provide safe and guaranteed pedestrian and auto access between downtown Ridgefield and the waterfront, including the port’s 41-acre mixed-use development site.
The final phase includes the already completed design and City of Ridgefield permitting for the project, and construction of the overpass span. The span will tie the previously port-constructed overpass approach roads – one between Division and Mill Streets and the other at the west end of Pioneer Street – to complete the rail overpass.
Phases 1 and 2 were completed in 2013 and 2014 respectively. The final phase was due to start last summer, but was delayed pending approval by the Washington State Department of Transportation and Burlington Northern, the rail line operator. An additional delay occurred in the spring of 2018 when the port was required to conduct a new wildlife environmental impact study due to the presence of White Tail deer – a threatened species – in the nearby Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.
Funding for the $11.3 million overpass project has come from several sources. In 2015 the port secured $7.8 million in state funding, $2 million in federal Surface Transportation funding through Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council (RTC), and in early 2017 the port was awarded $900,000 from a U.S. Department of Transportation Railroad Safety Grant. The remaining dollars for the project were provided by the port and others.