Highway railroad coordination

Find guidance and support for statewide highway projects that include impacts to railroad companies, railroad crossing safety projects and highway operation improvements and maintenance.

The WSDOT Railroad Liaison:

  • Provides direct support to regions and other HQ offices.
  • Coordinates statewide highway project delivery with impacts to railroad companies.
  • Manages railroad crossing safety projects.
  • Supports highway operation improvements and maintenance by coordinating with railroads, regions and the Utilities and Transportation Commission.

Review the division of duties (PDF 21KB) and find additional information related to the divisions within WSDOT that work directly with railroads.  

Railroads obtaining assistance from WSDOT

Please contact the Railroad Liaison for any questions regarding receiving assistance from WSDOT on permitting, temporary traffic control, utility information, plan review for impacts to highways, etc. 

Temporary Traffic Control (TTC) during railroad construction, maintenance and repair of tracks or crossings are required by state laws. Review the Railroad Maintenance and Construction Temporary Traffic Control Guidelines (PDF 3.4MB).

Diagnostic team

Grade crossings and the traffic control devices that are associated with them are unique in that in many cases the road authority, the regulatory agency (UTC), and the railroad company are jointly involved in development of engineering judgment or the performance of an engineering study. This joint process is accomplished through the efforts of a Diagnostic team, which is a group of knowledgeable individuals of the parties of interest in a grade crossing or group of grade crossings.

Railroad crossing data

At Grade Crossing Inventory on State Highways (XLSX 38KB)

List of all crossings in Washington State - Utilities and Transportation Commission

Detailed crossing inventory and accident reports - Federal Railroad Administration

Reporting railroad crossing problems

To report railroad crossings problems (rough surface, signal malfunctions, blocked by trains for longer than 10 minutes, missing signs, etc.) use the UTC Rail Safety Complaint Form on the UTC website.

Construction guidance

AREMA (American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association)

Highway-Railroad Crossing Handbook - Third Edition

UPRR and BNSF guidelines for railroad grade separation projects (PDF 1.3MB)
UPRR and BNSF Guide for Temporary Shoring (PDF 1.04MB)

BNSF Public projects
BNSF Guidelines for preparation of bridge demolition and removal plan (PDF 189KB)
BNSF Overhead bridge erection plan expectations (PDF 396KB)
BNSF Railway Public Project Information (PDF 1.67MB)
BNSF Utility Accommodation Policy (PDF 561KB) 

UPRR Public Project manual
UPRR Guidelines for preparation of bridge demolition and removal plan (PDF 540KB)
UPRR Technical Resources for Public Projects

WSDOT Owned Bridges over Railroads (PDF 71KB)

Permitting

Permits are needed from railroads for the following activities:

  • Pipeline or wire lines (utilities) on railroad property (including new installations on existing easements).
  • Temporary Occupancy for construction staging or access.
  • Permits are required to install new, temporary or private crossings. For crossings on the state highway system, please contact Connie as soon as the need is identified.
  • General License for culverts or ditches.
  • Environmental studies or monitoring.

Please note that permits are in addition to Construction and Maintenance agreements. Some permits may need to be obtained by the WSDOT contractor and permanently held permits (utilities) are obtained by WSDOT. It can take up to six months to obtain a permit.

Permits issued by BNSF
Union Pacific Permits

For permits with shortline railroads, permit information and assistance with processing, please contact the Railroad Liaison.

Safety training

All WSDOT employees or WSDOT contractors providing labor, material, supervision, or services within 25 feet of track or on railroad property shall complete a safety orientation. BNSF safety training is available online.

Other railroads accept safety orientation training available online.

The safety training identification card must be on your person at all times when you are on railroad property.

Assistance and guidance

To view photos of the state highway, please use SR View.

RR contact information

BNSF/RR flagging requests (XLSX 13KB)

UPRR/RR flagging requests form (PDF 70KB)

Additional assistance that can be provided by the Railroad Liaison includes:

  • Receipt and routing of invoices related to WSDOT construction projects.
  • Maintenance questions regarding work near or on railroad right of way.
  • Obtaining contacts for various railroad companies (Roadmaster and Maintenance of Way staff).
  • Processing railroad protective services (flagging) requests.
  • Researching invoices for claims, permits or licenses.
  • Researching old railroad agreements or easement documents.

Traction tires are a special type of tire

manufactured with at least 1/8 of an inch tread. Traction tires are usually marked with a mountain/snowflake symbol, the letters M+S or “All Season.”

Carry chains, practice before leaving

Requiring chains keeps traffic moving during storms rather than closing a pass or roadway.

Prep your car. Fill up your gas tank,

pack jumper cables, ice scraper, warm clothing, snacks and water.