East Edition Herald American

Federal funds received for railroad crossing project

SANTA FE SPRINGS — A project to build a vehicle overpass at a frequent site of crashes between cars and trains recently received a $15 million infusion from the federal government, officials announced Aug. 25.

The $137.2 million project to build the overpass over the railroad crossing at Rosecrans and Marquardt avenues is not anticipated to begin until January 2019, and is not expected to be completed until 2021.

But Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Cerritos, said that lawmakers have been busy securing funding for the project due to the high number of collisions that have occurred at the intersection.

From 2013 to 2015, the crossing has seen 22 crashes between trains and vehicles, with four people dying and six others injured, according to the California Public Utilities Commission. The busy intersection is also traversed each day by 45,000 cars and 130 trains, including BNSF, Metrolink and Amtrak.

“It’s high time this most hazardous rail intersection in the state was addressed, and I’m proud to work with [the MTA], Santa Fe Springs, Caltrans, HSR and BNSF to transform it into a safe place for pedestrians, cars and trains,” Sanchez said.

John Fasana, chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board, said the crossing “is particularly hazardous because the railroad tracks approach street traffic from an angle, making it harder for motorists to see the oncoming trains.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced the $15 million TIGER (Transportation Investment Economic Recovery) grant in July. State funds, local Measure R revenue and the California High Speed Rail Authority also are paying for the project, as will BNSF, the company that operates the railroad, MTA officials said.

“This project is a major engineering and construction effort that will provide a significant improvement to mobility and quality of life for the business and residential communities of Santa Fe Springs,” said MTA CEO Phillip A. Washington. “To that end, we’ll maintain traffic on Rosecrans during construction and work to minimize day-to-day disruptions.”