State regulators approved funds today to install fencing under the Freight House Square Bridge in downtown Tacoma.
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) approved $20,000 in Grade Crossing Protection Funds (GCPF) to Tacoma Rail to install fencing and gates under the Freight House Square Bridge spanning the area between East L and East G streets near the Tacoma Dome.
Transients frequently loiter and dump garbage beneath the railroad trestle posing security risks. In May 2007, a fire was started under the trestle which caused damage to the pilings. Installing fencing and gates beneath the railroad trestle will prevent trespassers from accessing the area and increase safety for trains that are traveling on the railroad tracks above.
The Legislature created the GCPF in 1969 to provide money for safety measures designed to decrease the potential for accidents and fatalities at public and private crossings and along railroad tracks in the state. The UTC administers the fund.
The UTC is the state agency responsible for railroad safety, including approving new grade crossings and closing or altering existing rail crossings. The agency investigates train accidents, inspects public-railroad crossings, approves rail-safety improvement projects and manages Operation Lifesaver, a rail-safety education program in Washington and nationwide.