Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority breaks ground on Fairway Drive grade separation project

Elected officials gathered earlier today for the groundbreaking of the Fairway Drive Grade Separation Project. The project includes the construction of a four-lane underpass for Fairway Drive and a new four-track railroad bridge to carry freight and Metrolink trains over the road.

The project will eliminate vehicle delays — including for emergency responders — and the potential for crossing collisions at this well-traveled intersection. It will also keep traffic moving and help reduce emissions, as well as lower the need for trains to use their horns and the current noise from the crossing gates and bells.

Metro provided approximately $65.6 million — or 45 percent of the project’s cost — from the Prop C and Measure R half-cent sales tax increases approved by Los Angeles County voters in 1990 and 2008, respectively.

Here’s the full press release from the Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority:

 Federal, state and local officials gathered today to kick off construction of a four-lane roadway underpass and four-track railroad bridge to replace a congested railroad crossing on Fairway Drive, immediately north of the State Route 60 Freeway in the City of Industry and unincorporated community of Rowland Heights.  The $141.8 million project will create more than 2,500 jobs over three-and-one-half years of construction with completion scheduled for Summer 2018.

The railroad crossing is used daily by nearly 25,000 vehicles, including significant truck traffic, and blocked by an average of 49 trains a day, projected to increase to 91 trains by 2025.  The project will eliminate 62.5 vehicle-hours of crossing delay each day, including for emergency responders, and the potential for crossing collisions, with four collisions recorded over the last 10 years. The project will also reduce emissions and eliminate locomotive horn and crossing bell noise.

“Today’s groundbreaking marks the start of a project that will eliminate deadly crossing collisions, train delays for emergency responders and locomotive horn noise that will improve the quality of life for residents and commuters,” said Montebello Mayor Jack Hadjinian, Chair of the Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority (ACE).  “We thank our funding partners for providing the support needed to get this project into construction.”

“Vehicles idling at the railroad crossing waiting for the train to pass and crossing collisions will be a thing of the past,” said ACE Board member and City of Industry Mayor Tim Spohn.  “The City of Industry appreciates the opportunity to work in partnership with the ACE Construction Authority on this and other important safety and congestion relief projects that will benefit our community for many years to come.”

“The San Gabriel Valley is the goods movement gateway to the nation,” said Congresswoman Grace Napolitano, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  “The ACE program of grade separations is a project of national and regional significance, and continues to serve as a model to address the adverse impacts of freight rail traffic on our local communities.”

“Investing in our community’s infrastructure is crucial to improving the movement of goods through local ports and ensuring America continues to have a robust and globally competitive economy,” said Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “The Fairway Drive project will create construction jobs, cut down on emissions from idling vehicles, and most importantly make our roads safer for drivers.”

“The ACE program continues to be a success story for the San Gabriel Valley and has the united support of the region’s state representatives in Sacramento,” said State Senator Ed Hernandez, Chair of the San Gabriel Valley Legislative Caucus.

“Projects like the Fairway Drive grade separation will not only improve our region’s infrastructure, but it will also stimulate job growth and produce well paid local construction jobs,” Senator Tony Mendoza, Chair of the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee, said in a statement.  “In fact, this project alone will create a projected 2,500 construction jobs over the next three years.”

“The Fairway Drive project will ease traffic congestion, reduce emissions, improve safety and mitigate the impacts caused by the increase in freight rail traffic traveling through eastern Los Angeles County,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe.  “This project is another example of how critical these infrastructure projects are to small business owners and suppliers that depend on the effective and efficient mobility of freight from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to destinations throughout Southern California and beyond.”

“State transportation bond funds approved by the voters account for half of the Fairway Drive project cost,” said California Transportation Commissioner Fran Inman.  “I am proud to see that our public funds are being put to good use – not only in modernizing California and America’s freight rail network but also helping to save lives, create jobs and provide long-term benefits to the goods movement system in Southern California.”

“Los Angeles County Metro is contributing nearly half of the overall cost of the Fairway Drive project and more than a third of the overall ACE program funding through Measure R and other countywide sales tax measures,” said Duarte Councilman John Fasana, the San Gabriel Valley’s representative to the LA County Metro Board of Directors.  “I will continue to support the ACE projects on the Metro Board to complete this important rail-roadway grade separation program.”

Fairway Drive is scheduled be closed for underpass and bridge construction in Spring 2016 upon the re-opening to traffic of the adjacent Nogales Street project currently under construction.  The Fairway Drive project is part of a program of grade separations along the Alameda Corridor-East Trade Corridor, which accommodates 60 percent of the containers moved from the nation’s busiest container ports in the San Pedro Bay to the rest of the country via the region’s transcontinental rail network.