Track restoration starts for downtown trolley

May 31, 2011

By Staff

The long-awaited Issaquah Valley Trolley Project is back on track.

Workers with Coast Rail, a Lakebay contractor, add new rock to the rail bed along Rainier Boulevard North on May 20 for the trolley track rehabilitation project. By Greg Farrar

Officials issued a notice last month for the track rehabilitation project to start. The city has selected Lakebay-based Coast Rail to replace depleted railroad ties along the proposed trolley route from the historic Issaquah Train Depot to the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce.

The state Department of Transportation sent a railroad track specialist to the city May 6 to determine the number of timber ties in need of replacement.

In addition to the track rehabilitation, plans call for traffic signal modifications at Front Street North and Northwest Dogwood Street to accommodate the trolley. The contractor has 30 days to complete the project.

Before trolleys can run through downtown Issaquah, the decades-old tracks and trolleys must be restored.

In March, City Council members awarded a $135,274 track refurbishment contract to Coast Rail and, in the same legislation, awarded a $220,000 trolley restoration contract to Mukilteo-based Advanced Construction.

The legislation also increased the project budget to $524,700 from $517,400 to reflect the original project budget, and to account for $7,400 in additional federal funds and expenditures made to date.

The nonprofit Issaquah Valley Trolley Project is spearheading the restoration. The city oversees and administers the grant dollars used to fund the trolley project. Issaquah also owns the railroad corridor.

The trolley group leased a trolley from a Yakima organization, and ferried more than 5,000 passengers through downtown Issaquah in 2001 and 2002 in a successful test.

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2 Responses to “Track restoration starts for downtown trolley”

  1. Steve on June 2nd, 2011 9:23 am

    Seriously, roughly $50 per resident for an out-and-back, no purpose track? Whose pet project is this plaything and how did they fleece our city out of this money? Quaint as it may be to stop Front Street traffic for an occasional choo-choo crossing, it’s not going to have any return on investment. People are not going to flock from miles around to ride a 300-yard yo-yo and then spend lavishly in our town.

    The depot, collection of rail cars, and a couple hundred feet of track make a nice reminder of our history, but it should end there. The rest is a complete waste of resources and there are so many projects that could benefit.

  2. Anonymous on June 5th, 2011 6:00 pm

    While it may seem like a substantial amount of money especially during these difficult economic times, I think I will reserve judgment on this project until it is actually running to see how it will benefit downtown businesses and how many tourists it brings. The test run brought in over 5000 visitors, so we know people will come and ride the trolley.

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