Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority
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ARTICLES AND PRESS RELEASES

San Gabriel Valley Tribune editorial
July 25, 2011

Our View: Montebello ACE project in the cards


A good way to describe the Alameda Corridor East grade separation projects would be they "erase the negative." Where there were backups of cars, fire trucks and ambulances, there are roads gliding under train trestles or trains zipping over roadways. No more waiting for a paramedic stuck at a train crossing.

To get the picture, drive through the Ramona Boulevard project in El Monte, the Nogales Street or Sunset and Orange avenue grade separations in Industry; or the Brea Canyon Road project in Diamond Bar.

In all these places, cars and trucks no longer stop for freight trains. Train gates and car waits have been done away with - replaced by free-flowing traffic. Without these projects, traffic would be worse. Without future projects, there will be more vehicle vs. train accidents and more deaths.

As shipping traffic increases, so will freight traffic from the ports of Los Angeles up the 19-mile Alameda Corridor. From there, the trains do the heavy lifting, traveling east across 35 miles of intersecting roads in the San Gabriel Valley, on their way to America.

In late August, the Alameda Corridor East board is ready to approve several new grade separation projects for which funding has been provided. But one of them is on hold because the jurisdiction has not given the OK. That one involves Montebello Boulevard.

Here, the city of Montebello has held up approval for 11 years. After originally approving a grade separation which would lower Montebello Boulevard below the two tracks that run Union Pacific freight trains, the city went back on the agreement. Instead of the typical lowering of the roadway (a lot like the Nogales Street project) for a $90-million price tag, the Montebello City Council wanted a full lowering of the tracks through four intersections at a cost of $363 million. This ridiculously expensive project is almost more than the entire budget for the ACE. It is an unrealistic demand.

Instead, the ACE has come up with yet another alternative, an underpass called the Greenwood bypass that would take vehicle traffic off Montebello Boulevard while lessening the impact on adjacent properties. It would cost about $56 million. Or the ACE could build the original project for $89 million.

It's time the Montebello City Council choose one of these alternatives. So that these improvements to their city could be realized.

If the city continues to be indecisive, the result could be no project gets built because ACE will not build a project not approved by the local municipality. That would be doing the citizens of Montebello and the region a great disservice.

Read more: http://www.sgvtribune.com/ci_18540711#ixzz1T8O4xPW0