After Three Years, Grade Separation Project Opens ahead of Schedule
After three years of project planning and construction, the $107.8 million Durfee Avenue Grade Separation project is finally complete, and all lanes of traffic underneath the bridge are now open.
Officials from the Alameda Corridor-East Project (ACE), the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments (SGVCOG), joined City leaders in celebrating the project completion with the official opening of the Durfee Grade Separation last month.
The Grade Separation project was constructed as part of The Alameda Corridor-East Project under the leadership of the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments’ Capital Projects and Construction Committee that aims to mitigate the vehicle delays and collisions at railroad way crossings resulting from growing freight rail traffic in the San Gabriel Valley.
Since 1981, ten collisions have been reported at the Durfee crossing, resulting in five fatalities. On a daily basis, over 13,000 vehicles along with over 500 pedestrians use Durfee Avenue to reach places of residence, freeway access, local schools, parks, and surrounding businesses. By 2025, it is expected that vehicular traffic will increase to over 14,000 vehicles daily with train traffic expected to increase by that same year.
With the Grade Separation now completed, area residents will no longer have to deal with traffic delays and competing with crossing trains. The project also eliminates harmful emissions from idling cars that were forced to wait for trains to pass. Noise pollution from the train’s horn will also be reduced as they will no longer have to blow their horn when approaching the area previously constituted by the crossing.
Safety for pedestrians and bicyclists has also improved with newly paved designated bike paths and sidewalks that were installed along the new roadway.
Finally, emergency vehicles now have a clear northern and southern path to respond to emergencies here in the City or elsewhere that was previously blocked due to passing trains.
“Despite its length, Durfee Avenue is a heavily used north and south corridor by both vehicles and pedestrians, coupled with an active train crossing, safety for everyone was a huge concern and ACE recognized that” said City Manager Steve Carmona. “With the completion of this project, residents can now drive, bike, or walk, with ease knowing they no longer have to worry about oncoming train traffic.”
Carmona was especially appreciative to those affected by the two-year project. “I would like to thank the area residents and businesses who were impacted by the ongoing construction for their patience and cooperation,” said Carmona. “We understand the short-term impacts, but the long term advantages of the project will be beneficial to the surrounding neighborhoods in safety and quality of life.”
With the opening of Durfee Avenue, traffic flow along Rosemead Boulevard will see a decrease in the coming months as regular traffic patterns return along Durfee Avenue. Montebello Bus Lines Route 60 will also return to its normal route along Durfee Avenue for its scheduled run Monday through Friday.
The ACE Project program consists of grade separations throughout the San Gabriel Valley and neighboring cities, where the road goes over or under the railroad tracks. The program has successfully completed 40 grade separations and safety and mobility improvements at over 50 crossings (resulting in the elimination of over 20 at-grade crossings) throughout the Union Pacific freight train corridor.
The $107.8 million project was fully funded by State and Federal funds.