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OCTA breaks ground on $600 million project

The O.C. Bridges Program is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs over the next year.

By Karly BarkerPublished: October 19, 2011 01:50 PM

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) broke ground on a $600 million project today that is expected to separate street traffic from trains in seven Orange County locations.  Known as the O.C. Bridges Program, the project will create a series of bridges – both underpasses and overpasses – that will separate cars from passing trains. OCTA says the bridges will eliminate waiting timing at major intersections. The current idol time at railroad crossings isn’t good for the economy, for the environment or for quality of life, according to the transit authority.

“Orange County’s economy and communities are second to none and we have to ensure our transportation system supports our growing area,” said OCTA CEO Will Kempton. “These grade separation projects will have a lasting impact on drivers and I am excited to see them get under way.”

The seven crossings will run along the Burlington North Santa Fe rail line in Anaheim, Fullerton and Placentia. Construction will first begin on bridges at Placentia Avenue and Kramer Boulevard.  The first construction phase is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs in the next year, according to OCTA.

Construction on the rest of the crossings at Orangethorpe Avenue, Tustin Avenue/Rose Drive, Lakeview Avenue, Raymond Avenue and State College Boulevard will begin within the next two years. Nearly 70 trains travel along the Burlington North Santa Fe rail line every day. The number of trains is expected to increase more than 45 percent by 2030. The added traffic would mean a train would block one of the intersections every ten minutes.

“Making the important upgrades on these railroad crossings will positively benefit everyone impacted by delays on these crossing,” said OCTA Chair Patricia Bates, also the Fifth District Supervisor. “This project will benefit pedestrians, motorists and residents alike by enhancing safety, eliminating traffic delays and improving the quality of life.”

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