Feb. 18--Transportation officials are considering several options that would pave the way for closing a dangerous street-level rail crossing on the Los Angeles-Glendale border.
For years, the two cities have butted heads over the Doran Street crossing, which rail officials have said has the highest potential for disaster out of 312 crossings because of an adjacent propane facility, tanker truck traffic and vehicles that regularly stop on the tracks. Glendale has been pushing to close the crossing, but Los Angeles has argued it needs to remain open for emergency access.
Now the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is reviewing several options for an overpass and other roadwork that would not only close the Doran Street crossing but prepare the area for high-speed rail, which will require traffic crossings along the route to be flyovers for safety reasons.
Just how much the overpass project would cost depends on what form it takes. Cost analyses won't be completed until after the alternatives are whittled down, MTA project manager Dan Sepulveda said, but the MTA already has $40 million earmarked.
But with the California High-Speed Rail Authority slated to contribute funding to the overpass project, Sepulveda, who presented the options at a meeting in Atwater this month, said the partnership is a way to "get more bang for our taxpayers' buck."
The options include:
--Build a flyover that spans Doran Street and loops around Commercial Street on the Glendale side of the tracks.
Extend Doran Street on the L.A. side north under the 134 Freeway to connect with Fairmont Avenue, as well as an overpass that would extend from California Street to Exchange and Sperry streets.
Extend Doran Street to Fairmont Avenue beneath the freeway and build an overpass to the Los Angeles side of San Fernando Road between Salem Street and Wilson Avenue.
Extend Doran Street to Fairmont Avenue beneath the freeway and build an overpass between Salem Street and Wilson Avenue that also connects to Brazil Street.
Even if the controversial high-speed rail project -- which is expected to be built at the same level as the current tracks along San Fernando Road -- weren't part of the picture, transportation officials say an overpass is necessary to improve traffic safety in the area.
"Regardless if high-speed rail comes or not, there is the problem today," said Pat Somerville, an MTA consultant.
More public outreach meetings on the overpass project are expected to take place this spring and summer, with a final plan to be selected next year.
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