By: OC Supervisor Shawn Nelson
Designed to separate car traffic from trains, the O.C. Bridges program includes seven grade separation projects at rail crossings in Anaheim, Fullerton and Placentia. OCTA is working to improve traffic flow and safety by building a series of bridges – both underpasses and overpasses – to eliminate the need for commuters and commercial vehicles to stop, wait and waste time at railroad crossings as freight trains pass by.
Close to 70 Burlington Northern Santa Fe trains use the Orangethorpe Corridor in Anaheim, Fullerton and Placentia every day, causing delays and safety hazards, restricting emergency response and business access, and creating pollution and noise. More trains – and longer trains — are coming as well — an estimated 130 trains daily by 2030.
Four projects are under construction including Placentia Avenue, Kraemer Boulevard, Orangethorpe Avenue and Tustin Avenue / Rose Drive. Three additional projects will start in the next several months.
In January, the Placentia Avenue bypass road was closed and the detour put in place for 60 days. When the detour ends in March, drivers will be able to use the undercrossing to avoid train delays. Other project elements will be completed later this year.
The Kraemer Boulevard project requires the lowering of the entire intersection of Crowther Boulevard and Kraemer Avenue and is on schedule to open this summer.
The remaining projects, undercrossings at Raymond Avenue and at State College Boulevard and an overcrossing at Lakeview Avenue, have awarded construction contracts; however, there are still utility relocations and demolition work that must be completed before the project contractors can begin their work.
As always, drivers are encouraged to reduce their speeds near the project areas.
Funding sources for this $614 million infrastructure investment include Measure M, Orange County’s half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements, and California Proposition 1B Trade Corridor Improvement Funds.