Pines Road/BNSF Grade Separation Project
City receives $5 million WSDOT grant for grade separation project
The city has been awarded a $5 million grant from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to help construct the Pines Road/BNSF Railway grade separation project. The grant completes the city's initiative to secure nearly $40 million to replace the existing at-grade BNSF crossing on Pines Road (SR 27) with an underpass and the adjacent signalized Pines/Trent Avenue (SR 290) intersection with a roundabout. The grant was announced by Sen. Mike Padden of Spokane Valley, who helped champion the grant program.
On average, 65 BNSF Railway freight trains and two AMTRAK passenger trains travel through the Pines/BNSF Railway crossing each day, resulting in nearly 31,000 vehicle hours of delay each year. BNSF plans to add a second main track to the existing rail line, possibly as early as 2024. A second track will likely increase train traffic and vehicle delays. In addition, about 35,000 vehicles pass through the adjacent Pines/Trent intersection, including freight trucks from Canada and northern Idaho. There were 49 collisions in or near this intersection from 2017 to 2021. Pines Road is also the primary access to nearly 230 acres of nearby undeveloped mixed-use, commercial and industrial land in the area.
The proposed improvements will:
- Save four hours per day of vehicle wait time (based on gate down time) at the Pines/BNSF crossing, improving traffic flow and the movement of workers and goods
- Improve access to I-90 and key arterials in Spokane Valley
- Increase safety by eliminating the risk of train/vehicle, train/school bus, and train/pedestrian collisions at the railway crossing
- Improve emergency access to Trent Elementary and the neighborhoods to the north
- Add sidewalks and shared use paths for the safety of pedestrians, schoolchildren and bicyclists
- Make adjacent neighborhoods quieter by eliminating the need for train horns at the crossing
Included in the project is the construction of a new trailhead for the Centennial Trail and associated parking lot, equipped with restrooms, electric vehicle charging, and non-motorized access to the trail and Spokane River.
The trailhead will be located in three parcels donated by Avista Utilities, which are valued at approximately $800,000. The project is located in a USDOT-designated Historically Disadvantaged Community, which has a poverty rate of at least 20 percent as measured by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Completion of the Pines/BNSF Grade Separation Project will improve access to nearly 170 acres of undeveloped mixed-use, commercial, and industrial land, and help attract new businesses and jobs to the Spokane Valley economy. Over 25 years, the projected economic and tax impacts include:
- $1.3 billion in total economic output in Spokane County ($686 million in direct spending),
- 8,719 new jobs supported in Spokane County (4,312 direct job impacts),
- $8.2 million in new general fund taxes to Spokane Valley (25 years at 4 percent), and
- $101.9 million in new general fund taxes to Washington State (25 years at 4 percent).
More information regarding the project's benefits are outlined in this ECOnorthwest Economic Benefits Study.
Project cost and funding
The project is estimated to cost nearly $40 million as of August 2022. Groundbreaking is tentatively planned for spring 2024. Funding raised at this time includes:
- $21.7 million by Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE)
- $10.2 million by Spokane Regional Transportation Council (Surface Transportation Block Grant and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality)
- $5 million grant from WSDOT (secured December 2022)
- $1 million Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Grant
- Avista Utilities land donation valued at nearly $800,000
Washington State Department of Transportation
Project Letters of Support
RAISE grant application (2022)
RAISE grant application (2021)
BUILD grant application (2020)
BUILD grant application (2019)
CRISI grant application (2018)
BUILD grant application (2018)
FASTLANE II grant application - Pines/BNSF Project (FY 2017)
BTV - Local Agency Environmental Classification Summary
Consolidated Traffic and Safety Analysis
Senior Engineer, City of Spokane Valley