California Transportation Commission OKs $48 million for Puente Ave. railroad underpass

The California Transportation Commission voted Friday  to allocate $48 million in state transportation bond funds to the Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority (ACE) to construct a roadway underpass and railroad bridge at the congested and hazardous rail crossing on Puente Avenue/Workman Mill Road in the City of Industry. The funding will permit ACE to advertise and award a construction contract this summer for the $99.019 million project.

“The Puente Avenue grade separation project will eliminate collisions, traffic congestion, vehicle emissions and train horns at the crossing and we look forward to starting the project with today’s vote of support from the California Transportation Commission,” said El Monte Mayor Pro Tem Norma Macias, Chair of the ACE Board of Directors.

The construction funds were allocated from the state Proposition 1B Trade Corridor Improvement Fund. Workers will build a roadway underpass for Puente Avenue, a double-track bridge for Union Pacific trains and a bridge for Valley Boulevard as well as a new loop connector road between Puente Avenue and Valley Boulevard.

The project will eliminate the Puente Avenue railroad crossing, which accommodates 31,110 vehicles per day and where an average of 20 trains per day block traffic for 31.5 vehicle-hours of daily delay in 2010, projected to increase to 87.8 vehicle-hours of daily delay by 2035. The project will eliminate collisions between vehicles and trains, with five collisions recorded over the past 10 years, and will generate 1,766 full-time equivalent jobs.

The project is part of the ACE program of constructing 22 rail-highway grade separations in the San Gabriel Valley along the freight rail mainlines carrying goods to and from the San Pedro Bay ports. The ports are the nation’s busiest, handling 44 percent of the country’s containerized imports, 90 percent of California’s imports and 75 percent of its exports. Nearly 60 percent of the containers travel inland along the Alameda Corridor-East Trade Corridor to destinations across the country.

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