Project Improves Road, Rail Freight Mobility

Staff | September 28, 2010

Tacoma— East D Street, a major corridor for rail and motor freight entering and leaving the Port of Tacoma industrial area, officially opened in June, providing freight, motorists and pedestrians better access to much of Tacoma's industrialized "Tideflats" area as well as the revitalized Thea Foss Waterway.

The general contractor for the $24.5-million FAST (Freight Action Strategy for the Everett-Seattle-Tacoma Corridor) project was MidMountain Contractors Inc.

The overpass features wide sidewalks for pedestrians and bicyclists, Tacoma waterfront history placards and — built into the very architecture of the bridge — concrete silhouettes of historic Foss tugboats.

East D Street was once a busy at-grade crossing, used by dozens of long trains and hundreds of trucks each day. And nearby, a tight curve around the South end of the Thea Foss Waterway slowed trains entering and leaving the Port industrial area.

The completed overpass separates train and motor vehicle traffic by raising the roadway over the railroad tracks. This new infrastructure allowed the realignment of the tracks to ease the curve around the waterway — tripling rail capacity. Meanwhile, vehicle traffic — including motor freight — no longer waits for the trains that previously closed off D Street at grade.