A $3.2-million project to improve rail crossing safety near the intersection of Buena Vista and Vanowen streets -- through which about 40 trains cross daily -- is slated to start on Monday after seven years of planning, city officials said.
A number of road and railway improvements, including a second left-turn lane on Vanowen, a right-turn lane on Buena Vista and new gates to keep pedestrians and motorists off the railroad track, are expected to ease traffic congestion and address safety concerns.
The at-grade crossing has been the site of numerous close calls and collisions as drivers mistake the railroad track for a roadway.
The crossing is on the stretch of railroad that brings trains to the Bob Hope Airport Metrolink-Amtrak station.
“We’ve had enough close calls where we were interested in making sure it was safer than it is now,” said Assistant Public Works Director Ken Johnson.
The project features a new rail crossing gate protection system with four pedestrian and three vehicle gates bordering the track, new medians and a new rail communication system to better detect oncoming train traffic.