The Bridging the Valley (BTV) project will separate vehicle traffic from train traffic in the 42 mile corridor between Spokane, Washington and Athol, Idaho. The separation of railroad and roadway grades in this corridor, which currently includes 75 railroad roadway crossings, will promote future economic growth, traffic mobility, traffic safety, and train whistle noise abatement. As of late 2017, there was no substantial funding available to construct any of the proposed BTV projects. There is a small amount of money allocated to two future BTV projects; the Barker Road project has received $1 million in earmarks and $5 million in federal funding is available toward the Pleasant View Road BTV project in Idaho. The projects have not been started or scheduled since the money will only fund a portion of each project.
At this time, it is not clear when money will be available to move forward with any of the BTV projects.
What Improvements Does BTV Offer?
By removing all the identified at-grade rail crossings, Bridging the Valley proposes to do the following:
- Improve public safety by reducing rail/vehicle collisions;
- Improve emergency access to residents and businesses along the corridor;
- Eliminate waiting times for cars and trucks at rail crossings;
- Reduce noise levels, especially train whistles near crossings;
- Improve traffic flow due to separated grade crossings; and
- Enhance development opportunities with a single rail corridor served by the region’s largest railroads.
The project has been a collaborative effort between various stakeholders in Washington and Idaho.
Bi-state Stakeholder Cooperation List: