The goal of each of the projects is to enhance safety and improve commute times by eliminating the need for drivers to wait at rail crossings. The street now travels underneath the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) Rail Corridor, which hosts Metrolink and Amtrak trains.
"Instead of drivers getting off the I-5 freeway and waiting for up to 10 minutes staring at the side of a train to cross the tracks, now the wait time is zero," said OCTA Vice Chairman Jeff Lalloway, also Irvine's mayor pro tem. "That truly improves the quality of life for our residents."
Construction began in mid-2011 and a temporary road and rail line were built to keep trains and cars moving during construction of the undercrossing. The project included widening Sand Canyon Avenue, between the I-5 freeway and Oak Canyon/Laguna Canyon Road, from four to six lanes, constructing a bridge for the two tracks and adding bicycle lanes.
The entire project was funded from a mix of sources including Measure M, the county's half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements and local, state and federal funds.
With the completion of similar projects along Culver Drive and Jeffrey Road and establishment of a quiet zone at the Harvard Avenue crossing, operators will not be required to blow their horns on a regular basis once all construction activities have ceased. The undercrossing's landscaping is due to be completed this fall.