Orange County Branch Newsletter

December 2017

Local News

OCTA - OC Bridges Program Nearing Completion

By Kumari Bharil

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) is nearing completion of the OC Bridges Program. The Program began in 2009 and took $663.9 million to construct seven grade separation projects.  This program is a success due to tremendous collaboration from the cities of Anaheim, Fullerton and Placentia, OCTA Board and staff, elected leaders, supporters of Measure M, consultants, and contractors.  The OC Bridges Program was funded with Federal, State, Measure M2 and other local funds to meet the program cost.

These seven grade separation projects along the Orangethorpe Corridor in Anaheim, Fullerton and Placentia separated the trains from the roadways.  Close to 70 Burlington Northern Santa Fe trains use the Orangethorpe Corridor and this number is expected to increase to between 135 and 150 trains per day by 2030.

The $663.9 million program will deliver seven bridges, both underpasses and overpasses, eliminating the need for commuters and commercial vehicles to stop and wait at railroad crossings as lengthy freight trains pass. Benefits of the grade separations include: greater driver/pedestrian safety, shorter emergency response times, elimination of delays, easier business access, enhanced economic vitality, improved air/noise conditions and better quality of life.

The seven grade separation project locations are located at Raymond Avenue, State College Boulevard, Placentia Avenue, Kraemer Boulevard, Orangethorpe Avenue, Tustin Avenue/Rose Drive, and Lakeview Avenue.  Construction timeline for these projects were from 2012 to 2018. 

Placentia Avenue Grade Separation Project:

Design Consultant: Mark Thomas & Co.

Construction Manager: AECOM

Contractor: Flatiron


Construction of the Placentia Avenue undercrossing began on early 2012.  This was the first grade separation bridge to be built as part of the OC Bridges Program.  The project lowered the roadway between Crowther Avenue and State Route 57 to separate vehicle traffic from train traffic.  During construction, Placentia Avenue remained open to travel in both directions via a temporary "shoo-fly" roadway.  The undercrossing opened in March 2014.

Kraemer Boulevard Grade Separation Project:

Design Consultant: HNTB

Construction Manager: Arcadis

Contractor: Atkinson


The second grade separation bridge of the OC Bridges Program to be constructed was the Kraemer Boulevard undercrossing. Construction started in early 2012, and the roadway opened in June 2014. During construction, the entire intersection of Kraemer Boulevard and Crowther Avenue was lowered, and temporary railroad tracks were built south of the current tracks while the bridge, retaining wall and roadway was being built.

Tustin Avenue/Rose Drive Grade Separation Project:

Design Consultant: Biggs Cardosa

Construction Manager: Jacobs

Contractor: USS Cal Builders


Tustin Avenue/Rose Drive was the third grade separation bridge to be completed on the OC Bridges Program. In mid-2013 construction started and was completed in December 2015. Approximately 2,100 feet of Tustin/Rose was elevated and realigned to pass over Orangethorpe Avenue and the railroad tracks.  Orangethorpe Avenue also was widened to connect to the access road that meets the new elevated roadway.

Orangethorpe Avenue Grade Separation Project:

Design Consultant: AECOM

Construction Manager: Stantec

Contractor: Flatiron


The fourth grade separation bridge in the OC Bridges Program was the Orangethorpe Avenue overcrossing. Construction started in mid-2013 and  opened to traffic in June 2016.  This overcrossing required Crowther Avenue and Miller Street to be elevated to meet Orangethorpe on the west side of the bridge, and Chapman Avenue to be elevated to meet Orangethorpe on the north side. The project originally planned for Orangethorpe to remain open via a bypass road, however complex utility relocations required a full closure of Orangethorpe for about two years.

Lakeview Avenue Grade Separation Project:

Design Consultant: CH2M

Construction Manager: TranSystems

Contractor: OHL USA


Fifth of seven!  The Lakeview Avenue overcrossing was fifth in a series of seven structures that comprise the OC Bridges Program. Lakeview Avenue was raised and realigned, a connector road was built to link Lakeview and Orangethorpe Avenue, and N. Bubach Street was rerouted to connect via a new signalized intersection. In addition, a new frontage road was built to promote local business access. Construction began in mid-2014, and the new bridge opened in June 2017.

State College Boulevard Grade Separation Project:

Design Consultant: Mark Thomas & Co.

Construction Manager: Hill International

Contractor: USS Cal Builders


This project is the sixth bridge in the OC Bridges Program. Construction started in mid-2014 on the State College Boulevard undercrossing. This project lowered the roadway between Santa Fe Avenue to the north and Valencia Drive to the south.  A full closure of State College Boulevard began in early 2015, requiring the detour of motorists to Acacia Avenue.  The roadway opened in October 2017.

Raymond Avenue Grade Separation Project:

Design Consultant: AECOM

Construction Manager: Berg & Associates

Contractor: Flatiron


The final and seventh grade separation bridge in the OC Bridges Program is the Raymond Avenue undercrossing.  Construction started in mid-2014.  The roadway opened to one lane in each direction in October 2017 and is expected to open fully in early 2018.  The roadway was lowered between Santa Fe Avenue on the north side and Ash Avenue on the south side.  During construction of the BNSF Railway bridge and the Valencia Drive roadway bridge, traffic used a temporary road west of Raymond Avenue for access.

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