Emergency work in San Clemente, Calif., will take longer; new contractor selected

Written by RT&S Staff
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The final details of emergency slope stabilization work in San Clemente are emerging, and it looks like the construction timeline has added some length.

The portion of track that sits on the weakened slope has been closed to passenger rail service for weeks. Officials hoped trains would be able to run through in November, but now the contractor which won the bid has placed the project finish line in mid-January 2023. Rail service will be able to use the track in mid-December.

Geotechnical contractor Condon-Johnson & Associates was not the original builder assigned to the slope stabilization project, hence the new timeline. Condon-Johnson is still working on the design for the project, which is expected to cost $12 million. Right-of-way permitting processes also are being finalized. Construction work should begin in late October. Right-of-way negotiations, permitting, foul weather, and supply chain issues with construction materials could push the completion date back further. The project calls for the placement of angled concrete-and-steel retention plates along the slope attached to steel anchors drilled 100 ft horizontally into bedrock.

BNSF, which runs trains on the line, is delivering some of the construction material. The Class 1 has been running one train through San Clemente a day at reduced speeds.

Back on Sept. 30 officials closed the San Clemente portion of track when movement was detected in the area of an old landslide. The track has moved 28 in. over the last 13 months, with most of the action coming during the last year.

Read more articles on track maintenance.

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