Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority
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CBS Local

Feb 25, 2015.

Transportation Officials examine 'Permanent Solution' to railroad crossing crashes.

ROWLAND HEIGHTS ( — Hoping to adopt methods of increasing rail safety , transportation officials may look to create more distance between trains and cars by removing railroad crossings altogether.

Parts of Los Angeles County already feature the practice of keeping trains and other vehicles farther apart.

At a crossing point on Brea Canyon Road in Rowland Heights, cars cross in both directions by dipping underneath the railroad tracks, as trains are free to cruise by above.

Mark Christoffels, CEO of the Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority, is turning typical railroad crossings into three-dimensional thoroughfares, making it possible for vehicles to safely cross the tracks at one level, while trains use another.

“We have physically separated the road from the railroad track permanently,” Christoffels said.

One infamous crossing is already being altered, close to the corner of Nogales Street and Gale Avene, where 10 vehicles have been hit over 10 years. The current three-year, $118 million project will route traffic on Nogales underneath what the Federal Railroad Administration had called the most dangerous railroad crossing in California, eliminating the issue.

When asked whether an accident similar to the Metrolink crash in Oxnard on Tuesday could happen here after the project’s completion, Christoffels said: “Absolutely not. This is a permanent solution to what we witnessed the other day in Oxnard.”

The project is expected to be completed in 2016.

That is not to say residents near the crossing construction sites haven’t felt the less-desirable effects of the projects. However, most are willing to admit that the benefits of the construction are worthwhile.

“Traffic was just horrible; it was a nightmare,” resident Frank Duran said. “The sacrifices getting around our regular route was absolutely worth it. We can get from here to the other side of Diamond Bar no problem. So, definitely, it was worth it.”