The Valley View Avenue Grade Separation Project is intended to eliminate the existing at-grade crossing between the BNSF railroad tracks and Valley View Avenue, a major regional arterial roadway in the Cities of Santa Fe Springs and La Mirada, California. The Project involves the acquisition of right of way, relocation of utilities, construction of a temporary rail detour known as a shoofly, removal of the at-grade crossing, construction of a new three-track railroad bridge structure, and the lowering of two intersecting streets.
The Cities of Santa Fe Springs and La Mirada have been working together for several years planning the Project. At an estimated cost of $75,000,000, this will be the largest single local transportation improvement project ever completed by either city. The Project will lower Valley View Avenue where it crosses the BNSF railroad tracks and lower the intersecting Stage Road which runs parallel to the tracks. Approximately 2,000 feet of Valley View Avenue and 1,000 feet of Stage Road will need to be reconstructed in order to complete this project. Agencies supporting the Cities of Santa Fe Springs and La Mirada include Caltrans, BNSF, Metrolink, the Gateway Cities Council of Governments, and the County of Los Angeles.
The Project will involve the detouring of Valley View Avenue traffic to a temporary roadway located west of existing Valley View Avenue. A temporary at-grade crossing of the BNSF tracks will be provided during the detour to maintain traffic flows along Valley View Avenue. Stage Road will be closed to through traffic east and west of Valley View Avenue eliminating access to Valley View Avenue. Stage Road will be closed for the duration of the project construction, about 28 months.
The BNSF railroad tracks along Stage Road will be temporarily relocated south of their current alignment to make room for construction of the new railroad bridge. Following completion of this railroad bridge the rail lines will be moved back into the BNSF right of way and Stage Road will then be lowered.
Utilities will be relocated to new locations east and west of existing Valley View Avenue to clear the way for the lowered profiles of Valley View and Stage Road under the new railroad bridge.
Vision for the Rail Corridor
The Valley View Avenue Grade Separation is a critical part of a larger program known as the Third Main Track and Grade Separation Project which has been initiated by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), District 7 and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF). The primary objective of this program is to improve intercity freight and passenger rail efficiency, service, and safety by reducing conflicts between vehicles, pedestrians and trains. The Third Main Track and Grade Separation Project will be completed along a 14.7 mile segment of the BNSF railway corridor between the City of Commerce in Los Angeles County and the City of Fullerton in Orange County. Affected jurisdictions include the Cities of Buena Park, Commerce, Fullerton, La Mirada, Montebello, Norwalk, Pico Rivera, and Santa Fe Springs.
In addition to the new third main line track, the Third Main Track Project also calls for six new grade separations to be completed. The grade separations are needed to improve overall safety and traffic flow on surface streets by completely separating rail traffic from vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The additional track will enhance train travel along the corridor, reduce conflicts between freight and passenger service operations, and ensure passenger service can operate on a reliable schedule.
Collectively, Valley View Avenue and Stage Road handle about 40,000 vehicles each day and the BNSF railroad corridor currently carries more than 130 trains each day. These high volumes result in a conflict between vehicles and trains resulting in motorists’ delays as motorists spend hundreds of hours waiting for trains to pass. The grade separation will significantly improve safety, minimize traffic delays, and reduce the need for trains to sound their horns when approaching and crossing at Valley View Avenue.