Train watching in Colton has always been interesting,
But now its going to downright fascinating.
Colton is the site of Colton Crossing, one of the busiest at-grade railroad crossings in the United States.....The main transcontinental trunk lines of Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe cross at this point.....As traffic on each line has soared since the mid-1990s, fueled largely by the vast increase in imports passing through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the primitive crossing has become a serious bottleneck......The crossing was installed in August 1882 by the California Southern Railroad to cross the Southern Pacific Railroad's tracks while building northward from San Diego.
In December of 2006, the Alameda Corridor Transit Authority (ACTA) presented a feasibility study to analyze alternatives and costs for design and construction of an east-west structure, which would grade separate the BNSF and UP main line tracks at Colton Crossing. In addition, ACTA is preparing a forthcoming future report on a proposed north-south flyover to the south of Colton Crossing to reduce train crossing conflicts, which report will be evaluated by ACTA, UP, BNSF and the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG)
SANBAG will award a contract in the spring of 2007 for preliminary engineering and environmental document development for the Colton Crossing, the junction of Union Pacific Railroad tracks and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks south of Interstate 10.
The proposed project will build a bridge, also known as a grade separation, to separate the east-west UP tracks and the north-south BNSF tracks that cross between Rancho Avenue and Mt. Vernon Avenue in Colton.
The bridge is considered a project of national significance, due to the extremely heavy volume of freight carried on both of these railways. Plans call for the elevation of the UP tracks via a bridge over the BNSF tracks, thereby eliminating delays and associated costs of trains having to wait for other trains to cross. This also will improve the flow of passenger trains as well as provide for future increases in both freight and passenger rail traffic at this location.
The $150 million to $200 million project is in the early stages of the process. The Supplemental Project Study Report was approved by Caltrans in January 2006. SANBAG received $2.2 million of Interregional Transportation Improvement Program funds in the 2006 State Transportation Improvement Program to fund preliminary engineering and environmental document development, estimated to be completed by early 2009.
Pending available funding, final design could begin in mid-2009, with construction beginning in 2011 and estimated to take 24 months to complete.....I just hope Im around to see it.
Another Grade Separation project that will affect the residents of Colton, will be the Grade Separation project at Hunts Lane.....The construction of a bridge over the Union Pacific railroad tracks at Hunts Lanes in the cities of Colton and San Bernardino was scheduled to receive funding from the state’s Traffic Congestion Relief Program and the federal transportation funds.....SANBAG was in detailed design for this project when the state recommended suspending funding for the Traffic Congestion Relief Program in December 2002, due to California’s budget crisis......The project became active again in July 2005 with the addition of federal funding. Due to the addition of federal funding, SANBAG is actively pursuing federal environmental clearance.
The project is designed to provide a bridge over the railroad tracks that cross Hunts Lane, to eliminate the need for motorists to wait for trains......The new bridge is designed to accommodate two traffic lanes, a sidewalk and a bicycle lane in each direction and will raise the height of Hunts Lane from just south of Riverwood to north of Oliver Holmes Road.
Direct access to Hunts Lane from Club Center Drive is intended to be eliminated......Club Center Drive is designed to end in a cul-de-sac just east of Hunts Lane, and access is expected to continue from Oliver Holmes Road, Commercial Road and Riverwood.....An emergency access road is to be built under the new Hunts Lane bridge, south of the railroad tracks.....This is designed to allow secondary access for emergency vehicles to businesses south of the railroad.
Federal environmental clearance is expected by the end of 2006......Completion of the design and right of way is scheduled for 18 months after environmental clearance, summer 2008.....Construction will begin after that and last 14-18 months and cost over $20 million.
Gary Hall, the ghostpainter