By Teresa Simpson
Franklin Connection 

Rebel Flat trestle dedicated

Ceremony took place Thursday


Last updated 11/7/2023 at 11:57pm

WINONA — The new Rebel Flat Cree trestle on the Palouse-Coulee City railroad line was dedicated Thursday morning, Nov. 2.

Speakers included 9th Legislative District Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, McGregor Co. Chairman Alex McGregor and state Department of Transportation Rail, Freight and Ports Program Manager Jason Biggs.

The new span replaces the 197-foot wooden trestle destroyed Aug. 19 in the Winona Fire, which burned 2,525 acres and several buildings.

The new bridge now stands at 210 feet and is made of steel and concrete, Transportation's Rail, Freight and Ports Division spokeswoman Janet Matkin confirmed in earlier reports.

During his speech, McGregor said his Colfax-based company has 2,500 rail cars hauling grain and fertilizer each year on the line that connects Colfax to Adam County.

"Everyone came through," he said, noting the state, within a week of the Aug. 19 fire, reported working with WATCO to develop a design.

The state also expedited permitting and Whitmanl County Commissioner Art Swannack worked with Biggs in making a case for an emergency replacement, he said.

"Two days later, WSDOT was working with the railroad company," McGregor said, adding that WATCO was actively sourcing materials and contractors to do the work.

Meanwhile, Transportation officials were coordinating with Whitman County, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers securing permits, McGregor said.

The project was finished by Oct. 6.

McGregor said the replacement is a reminder of what can happen when everyone pulls together.

Sen. Schoesler said all transportation systems are critical to the future.

"Today, is the day I thank WSDOT," Schoesler said. "We were pretty skeptical when this happened, but this is the day I say thank you.

"Jason Biggs did a great job on this project."

Biggs also thanked all parties involved, asking the WATCO team to raise their hands.

"It is evident throughout the state of Washington when it comes to the importance of PCC," Biggs said.


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