Ridgefield, Wash. – Plans for a rail overpass on Pioneer Street in Ridgefield to allow safe passage for motorists and pedestrians between Ridgefield’s downtown and the waterfront are coming to fruition. In late June the Washington State Senate passed a $15 billion transportation budget that included funds for the completion of the third and final phase of the project. On July 10, the House passed legislation for the necessary bonding to raise the funds for the new budget. A total of $7.8 million toward the $11.3 million projected cost for Phase 3 of the rail overpass project will be made available to the Port of Ridgefield over two biennium periods; the Port earlier secured $2 million in federal funding toward Phase 3. The remaining dollars needed for the project will be provided by the Port and others.
The Port has been working on the rail overpass project over the last several years. Phase 1 of the project was completed in 2013, and provided an access road at the foot of Pioneer Street. Phase 2, completed in 2014, involved the construction of an overpass approach road between Division and Mill Streets; this road will connect to the rail overpass and the Port’s waterfront property at the completion of Phase 3.
Port of Ridgefield’s Chief Executive Officer, Brent Grening, said when completed, the rail overpass will bring many benefits to Ridgefield, including improved, safer access to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge and a future jobs center at Millers’ Landing – the Port’s available 41-acre, mixed-use waterfront development site.
“This overpass is a critical component in providing safe, uninterrupted access to and from our waterfront property. It also eliminates a site development obstacle, and will serve to encourage development in downtown Ridgefield,” said Grening.
Washington State Senator Ann Rivers, R-La Center, attended the Port of Ridgefield’s commission meeting on July 8 to discuss the transportation budget. Port Commissioner Scott Hughes heaped praise upon Senator Rivers for her role in securing the funding.
“I can’t applaud you enough. Your tenaciousness and advocacy for Ridgefield is appreciated by everyone in this community,” said Hughes.
Grening added that House Transportation Committee Chair Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island, and Senate Transportation Committee Chair, Curtis King, R-Yakima, were also instrumental in helping the Ridgefield project make the list of funded projects.
“Along with Senator Rivers, Representative Clibborn and Senator King understood the necessity of this project, and saw the greater regional good the rail overpass could provide. We greatly appreciate their support,” said Grening.
Senator Rivers gave credit to the Port and others for helping secure the project dollars.
“What we were able to do for Ridgefield wouldn’t have happened without the Commission and Brent [Grening]. They kept me abreast of what the citizens of Ridgefield need,” Rivers said.
Engineering for the final phase of the rail overpass project is currently underway. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2016, with project completion in late 2017.
The Port of Ridgefield, established in 1940 and with a district population of approximately 17,000, is located in the northern part of Clark County in southwest Washington State. The Port district is divided by the rapidly expanding I-5 corridor known as the “Discovery Corridor,” with five freeway interchanges that provide easy access to many large tracts of undeveloped properties. The port district encompasses nearly 57 square miles, or 36,480 acres. The Port of Ridgefield is located at 111 Division St., Ridgefield, Wash., 98642. For more information call (360) 887-3873.
Contact: Port of Ridgefield: Brent Grening, CEO (360) 887-3873