The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) has celebrated a major transportation milestone with the completion of the O.C. Bridges program, which during the last five years built a total of seven bridges and underpasses to separate motorists and pedestrians from the busy freight rail line running along the Orangethorpe Corridor through Anaheim, Fullerton and Placentia.
The $663 million project received significant funding from Orange County’s Measure M, the county’s half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements renewed by voters in 2006. Measure M funding accounts for about $157 million of the O.C. Bridges program, and helped leverage state and federal transportation to fund the remaining costs.
The dual goals of the O.C. Bridges Program are to improve safety and remove delays. Each overpass and underpass constructed as part of the program improves traffic flow and travel times, cuts air pollution by eliminating the need for cars to idle at railroad gates, and enhances safety in the community.
At least 70 trains travel the busy BNSF rail line each day, with the number of trains projected to increase to 130 trains each day by 2030. Without the bridges and underpasses, a train – some up to a mile long – would block one of the crossing intersections every 10 minutes.
“Nobody likes having to sit in their car waiting for a train to pass. Now they don’t have to and that’s a good reason to celebrate, as each of these projects enhances safety and speeds up commute times,” said OCTA Chairman Michael Hennessey. “We greatly appreciate everybody’s patience during these several years of construction and we’re excited that they now get to experience all the benefits.”
Source: OCTA Press Release