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The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has announced a $1.5 million grant to fund the design of a bridge that would carry vehicular traffic over rail tracks in Oxnard, Calif.The Union Pacific Railroad tracks, which cross Rice Avenue, are used by Metrolink, Amtrak and freight trains. The California Department of Transportation will design a six-lane bridge on Rice Avenue over the tracks and State Route 34, U.S. Department of Transportation officials said in a press release.The bridge will stretch about 800 feet north and south of the existing crossing, which will be closed. Traffic through the area each year includes 1,820 Metrolink trains, 3,120 Amtrak trains and 4,368 UP trains."This grant will be instrumental in helping to reduce accidents and fatalities at our nation’s railroad crossings and ensuring that the rail system is modernized to meet future needs," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "Through a combination of grants, education, and enforcement, we can — and will — achieve our goal of preventing accidents and deaths at railroad crossings."
The Rice Avenue crossing was the site of a derailment in February 2015 when a Metrolink commuter train struck an abandoned truck near the crossing. The train engineer died and 33 people were injured in the incident.The bridge project is one of nine rail projects in eight states selected to receive nearly $10 million to upgrade and increase the safety of railroad crossings along energy routes under the Railroad Safety Grants for the Safe Transportation of Energy Products by Rail Program.