CNS | Contributed
Two railroad grade separation projects in Riverside County were among dozens nationwide awarded millions in federal funds, it was announced on June 5th.
The Federal Railroad Administration said that $64.5 million in Railroad Crossing Elimination Grant Program funds was earmarked for projects in California, including one in Banning and another in Riverside.
The disbursals are part of a $570 million distribution for 63 projects in 32 states, the FRA said.
“The Railroad Crossing Elimination Grant Program is another critical tool that FRA is using to make a lasting impact on the safety and transportation needs of communities nationwide,” FRA Administrator Amit Bose said. “With these project selections and the many more that are to come, we will save lives and reshape infrastructure in ways that allow individuals to move through their neighborhoods seamlessly and safely.”
The Hargrave Grade Separation Project in Banning received $2.8 million.
The enterprise remains in the planning stage but will ultimately involve reconstructing the at-grade crossing for the Union Pacific line and create an underpass that separates rail and vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
Long delays for motorists waiting on trains to transit the location are common.
“The Hargrave Grade Separation Project is a critical piece of the city’s infrastructure needs,” Banning City Manager Doug Schulze said. “Completion of this project will not only improve traffic congestion and emergency response in Banning, but throughout the (San Gorgonio) Pass Area.”
“The safety of my constituents is my top priority,” said Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz. “Last year’s Union Pacific train stoppage in Beaumont caused severe delays for commuters and first responders and demonstrated a serious need for upgrades to Pass Area infrastructure. I am excited to help deliver this funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to Banning that will make our roads safer for local families, reduce congestion for commuters, and prevent massive traffic blockages caused by train traffic in the Pass Area.”
The city and Western Riverside Council of Governments have committed a one-third match to the federal appropriation.
The Third Street Grade Separation Project in Riverside received $15 million from the FRA.
The project is also in the planning and design phase but will, by the end of 2026, result in construction of an underpass to separate vehicular and foot traffic from dozens of freight and Metrolink commuter trains that transit the Burlington Northern Santa Fe line at Third and Commerce streets daily, according to officials.
BNSF, the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Transportation Commission have committed a two-thirds funding match to the FRA outlay.
More information is available at https://railroads.dot.gov/elibrary/railroad-crossing-elimination-rce program-program-fy2022-selections.
Find your latest news here at the Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle