U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, Mayor Ed Murray, Port Commissioner John Creighton and SODO business leaders announced a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that directs up to $10 million from the Port of Seattle towards completing the South Lander Street bridge project and $5 million towards solutions for a broader approach to ease traffic and improve safety on major freight and transit corridors throughout Seattle. The South Lander Street bridge is a critical project serving one of the busiest and most high-risk rail crossings in the country. The project is estimated to cost $123 million, funded through commitments from federal, state, and local partners. Last fall, the project was awarded a $45 million federal grant thanks to the advocacy of Senator Cantwell.
“Washington state loses millions of dollars in economic activity because of train, truck, and urban traffic congestion –at Lander Street alone. By moving freight faster, we can fuel our export economy and create good paying jobs,” said Senator Cantwell. “I’m proud to have helped secure the $45 million from the FASTLANE grant program which I championed in the FAST Act in 2015. I will continue fighting to fix our infrastructure to build strong economic growth and make our country more economically competitive.”
“The City of Seattle, the Port of Seattle, the state of Washington, and federal leaders like United States Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell all came together around this vital infrastructure project because we are all committed to building a thriving, 21st Century economy that channels our booming $38 billon maritime industry,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “I’ve worked on this project dating back to my time in the state legislature, to support our industrial and maritime economy. Our shared economic values of mobility, safety, living wage jobs, and a clean environment all aligned around this bridge to the future.”
“The Safe and Swift Corridor Program will create efficiency for freight, and continue the safe movement of cargo through our gateway,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner John Creighton. “This partnership will improve transportation for commuters, truckers, buses and bicyclists in these critical corridors.”
South Lander Street is an essential east-west corridor serving Port of Seattle freight, King County Metro buses, bicyclists, commuters and pedestrians. The corridor is closed for more than 4.5 hours daily due to rail traffic, impacting approximately 13,000 vehicles.
The corridor is considered one of the most high-risk rail crossings in the state. Since 2011, three fatalities have occurred between trains and pedestrians at the South Lander Street crossing and an average of 485 track violations occur daily as cars, pedestrians and bicycles cross the tracks when the safety gates are deployed. The new four-lane bridge will provide safe connections for 1,400 pedestrians daily, primarily traversing between the SODO light rail station and area employers. This project will remove all at-grade access to the tracks at that location, improving safety for all.
The project is scheduled to break ground in early 2018. For the latest updates on the South Lander Street project, click here.