Sixteen million dollars in proposed improvements are targeted to prevent mudslides along northern routes for Sound Transit trains between Everett and Seattle.
Out of the 200 reported landslides since Thanksgiving 2012, Burlington Northern Santa Fe engineers have pinpointed six of the most risky and problematic locations, which are along an eight-mile area between Mukilteo and Everett.
“We’re proposing to move debris from the tops of slopes, put in additional catchment walls in the area as well as drainage systems,” said Gus Melonas, BNSF spokesman.
Dave Eagle, a passenger, is excited for the proposed changes.
“It’s definitely a hassle. Some people I talk to take vacation during that time, so they won’t have to ride the bus,” he said.
When trains are canceled, passengers rely on the bus. Eagle, who lives in Oak Harbor, estimates that adds an hour-and-a-half to his commute.
“Its irritating, but you have to deal with it,” said Eagle.
BNSF says the planned upgrades are on top of millions the company has already spent on enhancing drainage and improving tracks along the Puget Sound.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to start investing in this, get the ball rolling,” said Melonas.
Eagle is optimistic the changes will over power mother nature and increase reliability of Sounder trains during heavy rainfall.
“I’d rather be safe than sorry. I don’t want to be in a train that went off the tracks and into the water,” said Eagle.
The upgrades are still in the planning stages with no timeline yet on when work will start. The plan also still requires state and federal approval.