BNSF crews replace lights at downtown Vancouver crossing




A BNSF Railway signal team on Friday morning replaced two crossing signals in downtown Vancouver.

Crews diverted traffic on West Eighth Street at Harney Street around 8 a.m. Two teams removed old railroad crossing lights and installed new ones to coincide with the new port access project, said Gus Melonas, BNSF Railway spokesman.

New lights will also have traffic gates that lower before a train crosses the street.

BNSF will shut down the Eighth Street crossing between April 30 and May 4 to replace rail ties and install new rock, new approaches and a new concrete surface, Melonas said.

The railway also tore out the Jefferson Street crossing and replaced it in March.

“The result is a new crossing,” Melonas said. “It’s smooth. It’s safe and it’s a benefit for the railroad as well as the public.”

The two crossings are slated for permanent closure as part of the $44 million waterfront access project. No date has been set as of yet.

BNSF Railway is going forward and paying for the improvements at this point because railroad management believes it is necessary for the safety of the crossing, Melonas said. The crossing is frequently used by heavy trucks en route to Pacific Coast Shredding, Albina Fuel and other commercial businesses.

Trains will continue to sound their horns at the crossing, even with the additional safety equipment, Melonas said.