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Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) officials on Wednesday marked a major milestone in the $630 million O.C. Bridges Program in southern California when they opened the program's first grade separation.The Placentia Avenue undercrossing in Placentia and Fullerton, Calif., separates vehicular traffic from rail traffic on a BNSF Railway Co. line. Nearly 70 trains travel along the BNSF line each day through Anaheim, Fullerton and Placentia, and that number is expected to increase more than 45 percent by 2030, OCTA officials said in a press release.“This project translates into a better quality of life for residents and businesses in the area by speeding up commute times and eliminating the annoyance of having to wait at rail crossings for trains to pass by,” said OCTA Chairman Shawn Nelson.Work on the $69 million grade separation began in January 2012. The contractor, Flatiron West Inc., will continue working on finishing details that are expected to be completed by June.Construction is continuing on the six other grade separations that are part of the O.C. Bridges Program, with the next milestone scheduled to be the opening of the Kraemer Avenue undercrossing at a BNSF line slated for later this year, OCTA officials said.Meanwhile, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) earlier this week approved four grade crossing projects in Franklin, Lorain and Medina counties.CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway will install and interconnect mast-mounted flashing lights and roadway gates at crossings in Columbus, and Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway (W&LE) will install mast-mounted flashing lights and roadway gates at a crossing in Lorain County.The railroads must complete the work by Dec. 12. The Ohio Rail Development Commission has authorized funding for the upgrades. PUCO also approved a stipulation directing W&LE to install active warning devices at the Guilford Boulevard crossing in Medina. To be funded by the commission, city and railroad, the project must be completed by March 12, 2015.
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