Metrolink announced Friday it was awarded up to $13.6 million of Federal Highway Administration Section 130 Program Funds for safety improvements at four grade crossings along its Antelope Valley Line in Palmdale and Lancaster.
Metrolink, in partnership with Union Pacific Railroad and the cities of Palmdale and Lancaster, will design and build safety enhancements to street crossings at Avenues J and K in Lancaster, Avenue P in the Palmdale, and at Avenue M in both cities.
“Safety is foundational at Metrolink and we are pleased to receive these vital funds to improve safety along one of our busiest rail corridors,” said Metrolink Board Chair Ara Najarian. “These improvements keep Metrolink on the leading edge by employing the newest engineering technologies and processes to enhance safety for riders, our employees and the communities we serve.”
Improvements include automatic pedestrian gates with emergency exit swing gates, pedestrian channelization, median widening and extension, modifications to the crossing warning system to provide additional advance preemption warning time and traffic signal modifications.
“Recognizing the critical importance of these safety improvements for our local residents and Metrolink riders, the cities of Palmdale and Lancaster along with Union Pacific Railroad will partner to ensure their successful completion, with each having responsibility for portions of the work,” said Metrolink Board Member and Fifth District Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger.
Construction is anticipated to begin in early 2023 and be completed within 18 months.
The $13.6 million will cover 100% of design and construction for Metrolink’s portion of the project. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) administering the Section 130 funds on behalf of the Federal Highway Administration will manage concurrent agreements with Union Pacific and the cities to complete all the work.
The Federal Highway Administration Section 130 Program provides funds annually to eliminate hazards at railway and highway crossings nationwide. Since its inception in 1987, safety improvements funded by Section 130 have reduced fatalities at affected crossings by 57 percent.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is responsible for selecting grade crossings that are awarded funding for safety improvements each year throughout the state of California. Crossings compete statewide against all public railroad crossings within the state. This award for the four Metrolink crossings were award for the fiscal year 2019/2020 cycle of the Federal Highway Administration Section 130 Program.
[Information via news release from Metrolink.]