Alameda Corridor Moves To Assume Design And Construction Authority For Pacific Coast Highway Grade Separation Project

Alameda Corridor Moves To Assume Design And Construction Authority For Pacific Coast Highway Grade Separation Project

JULY 12, 2001

LOS ANGELES COUNTY–   Moving to maximize the benefits of the Alameda Corridor rail cargo expressway, the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority Governing Board authorized its Chief Executive Officer to enter into an agreement with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to manage the design and construction of the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) Grade Separation.  The PCH grade separation is the only remaining intersection along the route where train and street traffic will conflict when the Alameda Corridor opens next year.

However, funding for the project must come from sources separate and distinct from the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA), the Governing Board said.

Under an agreement approved by the ACTA Governing Board, ACTA will assume management of the design and construction of the PCH Grade Separation from Caltrans if funding can be secured.  The agreement between Caltrans and ACTA calls for funding to be provided by the State of California. The estimated project cost is $107 million, and Caltrans has identified all but $40 million.

“The PCH Grade Separation is important to the region, and it is in everyone’s best interest that it be completed in a timely manner,” ACTA Chief Executive Officer James C. Hankla said.  “To the extent that ACTA can assist without compromising our own financial obligations, then we’re certainly going to do that.”

Various grade separations in the area have been planned by other agencies for more than a decade but have not been constructed.  Thursday’s agreement calls for the PCH Grade Separation to carry vehicles on PCH over the Alameda Corridor mainline, Alameda Street and the San Pedro branch of the Union Pacific Railroad on a bridge more than a mile long.  The PCH-Alameda intersection has the greatest volume of conflicts between rail and street traffic of any intersection along the Alameda Corridor.  Completion of the grade separation in a timely manner is critical to avoiding major bottlenecks for truck and other street traffic.

ACTA estimates that it could expeditiously design and build the PCH Grade Separation in 18-24 months following identification of funding.

ACTA, a joint powers authority of the cities and ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, is building a 20-mile-long rail cargo expressway between the ports and the transcontinental rail yards near downtown Los Angeles.  The Alameda Corridor will improve the flow of goods through the ports and reduce traffic congestion by consolidating rail lines and eliminating traffic conflicts at more than 200 street-level railroad crossings.  Construction of the $2.4 billion project, begun in 1997, remains on budget and on schedule for completion in April 2002.

ACTA Chief Executive Officer James C. Hankla credited California Secretary of Business, Transportation & Housing Maria Contreras-Sweet for helping to broker the agreement between ACTA and Caltrans.  Hankla also praised the work of State Sen. Betty Karnette, Assemblymembers Alan Lowenthal and Jenny Oropeza. Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn and Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe.