The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) opened a new rail bridge over the San Diego River to traffic on Monday, Feb. 5.
The 900-foot bridge is part of the $93.9-million San Diego River Double Track (SDRDT) Project that will increase the passenger and freight rail capacity and improve service for commuters.
The new bridge is one of two that will be built during the double track project. The second bridge will be built parallel to the first following demolition of the old rail bridge. The project began in 2016 and construction should be complete in 2019.
SANDAG explained that the San Diego River Bridge is a critical component of the double-tracking effort, as it is the only single-track segment south of Balboa Avenue. Once the parallel bridge is constructed and operational, the result will be a continuous seven-mile double track segment from Garnet Avenue/Balboa Avenue to the Santa Fe Depot.
“The San Diego River Double Track project is a critical piece of the effort to double track the coastal rail corridor in San Diego,” said SANDAG Board Chair and Del Mar City Councilman Terry Sinnott. “Double tracking will support the growth in rail service and increase safety and reliability – these are critical improvements to San Diego’s only rail connection to the rest of the nation.”
Double tracking the rail line is a priority for SANDAG and the North County Transit District, which operates the San Diego County section of Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) corridor. The LOSSAN corridor spans six counties, runs 351 miles and is the second busiest intercity passenger rail corridor, behind the Northeast Corridor.
Partial funding for the project comes from a grant from the California State Transportation Agency, which awarded $66 million in Cap and Trade auction proceeds to complete three coastal rail projects in San Diego, including the San Diego River Double Track project.