Officials have long had a solution to improving California’s most dangerous railroad crossing, but only now have they secured the funds to make their plan a reality.
They announced that they had received the final $15 million needed for the $137.2 million project: an overpass that will allow drivers to skip over the railroad tracks located at Rosecrans and Marquardt avenues.
This railroad crossing sees up to 31,000 cars and up to 130 trains pass through it each day. As the latter number is expected to reach 180 by the end of the decade, it’s perfect timing for a new route around it.
It’s not the forecasted increase in congestion that has officials ready to make these changes, though: it’s the fact that the train tracks cut through the intersection at a diagonal, which makes it hard for drivers and pedestrians to see if a train is coming. As a result, three deaths and 19 other incidents have been reported at the intersection in the past three years.
It’s always cheaper and easier to construct both roadways and railroad tracks at the same elevation, but the low visibility at this intersection made it the prime candidate for change. Construction will begin in 2019 and finish in 2021, just in time for the uptick in commuter rail trains that will hit the tracks.
Aside from the safer roads, locals will also benefit from cleaner air after construction. As of now, cars spend approximately 21 hours each week waiting for trains to pass through the intersection, their idling engines expelling pollutants into the air. Once they’re able to move on, they’ll take their exhaust with them, too.