After 10 months since the official groundbreaking took place at the site of the Durfee Avenue Grade Separation, Durfee Avenue between Stephens Street and Walnut Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic. The closure will mark the beginning of the construction of the roadway underpass between Beverly Road and Whittier Boulevard, and a new bridge to carry trains over the lowered roadway.
Beginning on February 3, 2020, Durfee Avenue will be closed to all vehicular traffic from Stephens Street to Walnut Avenue. Pedestrian access will remain until a full closure takes effect on Monday, March 2, 2020. The closure is expected to last until May 2022 when the new roadway is anticipated to open to all traffic.
Access to businesses along Durfee Avenue near the closure will be available at all times. Access to El Adobe apartment residents will now be available through Deland Street and Pico Court. Alameda Corridor East (ACE) Project officials are also working on a transportation plan to accommodate students who attend North Park Academy of the Arts and South Ranchito Dual Language Academy once pedestrian traffic is closed in March. Many students who attend those schools walk along Durfee Avenue and cross the railroad tracks on a daily basis in order to arrive at either of those schools. A student shuttle will operate during morning and afternoon school hours, picking up North Park students at South Ranchito and the Women’s Auxiliary and Veterans Park and will drop them off at the Pico Park parking lot near the ballfields. South Ranchito Students will be able to pick up the shuttle at the Pico Park parking lot drop off location and be dropped off at South Ranchito. This Shuttle Service will be available beginning March 2, 2020 when pedestrian traffic will be closed.
Once completed, the $105.5 million project will address the delays for emergency responders. Currently, it is estimated that there is a delay of 15 vehicle-hours a day as a result of a passing or idling train. This time is crucial as Fire Station 40 encounters those delays when responding to emergency calls on the north end of the City. Much time is wasted when alternate routes, often longer, have to be taken when a train is passing. The new grade separation will substantially minimize this issue and eliminate the harmful emissions from idling vehicles waiting for the trains to pass.
Another issue that is being addressed with this project is pedestrian and bicyclist safety. New pedestrian sidewalks will be installed on both sides of the roadway underneath the bridge, and a dedicated bicycle lane traveling northbound and southbound will be included in the roadway design. This will allow for pedestrian and bicyclists to safely traverse along Durfee Avenue in safely manner without the worry of an oncoming train.
Finally, much of the noise pollution associated with trains will be reduced when locomotive horn noise is eliminated, as they no longer have to blow their horn when approaching an at-grade crossing.
The Durfee Avenue Grade Separation Project is in partnership with the Alameda Corridor-East Project, the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments, Metro, the Department of Transportation, the California Transportation Commission, Caltrans, and Union Pacific Railroad.
For more project information, residents may call the Project Helpline at 888.ACE.1426, by visiting the project website at www.theaceproject.org or by following along with the progress of the project on Twitter at @ACESGV.