Orange County Addresses Traffic Delays at Rail Crossings
The Kraemer Boulevard project is one of seven bridges or under crossings built as part of the $630 million Orange County Bridges program. Every day, up to 70 trains, some more than a mile long, travel through the area creating extensive traffic delays. By 2030, the number of trains is expected to increase to nearly 130 each day. The goal of this project was to enhance safety and improve commute times by eliminating the need for drivers to wait at rail crossings.
A New Grade Separation at Kraemer Boulevard
This grade separation project required a temporary track (shoofly) during construction, improvements to adjoining streets, commercial driveways, traffic signals, storm drains, and a new retaining wall to accommodate a new roadway under-crossing. In total, there were seven retaining walls, ranging from 400′ to 1000′ in length, set on CIDH piles. The retaining walls were cast in place with an architectural finish. The project added a 127-ft long steel-girder railroad bridge to accommodate the two existing railroad tracks and a future third track.
Ghirardelli’s Construction Management and Inspection Services
Ghirardelli Associates provided construction management and inspection services during the project. Our assigned Structures Representative reviewed submittals for shoring and falsework to verify that they met Caltrans and Burlington North Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF) standards and requirements and provided the required calculations and comments. Our Construction Inspector monitored work for federal reimbursement, performed daily site inspections to verify compliance with codes, plans, and specifications, and wrote corresponding daily reports. They also reviewed electrical submittals, scheduled 3rd-party special material testing inspections – utilizing survey instruments, metering devices, and testing equipment, and measured and recorded pay quantities and time & material work. Finally, they coordinated operations with utility departments and local businesses, maintaining project records, submittal reviews, and preserved project photos as delegated by the construction manager/resident engineer.
Improved Safety and Quality of Life
Construction was performed under noise and vibration restrictions and the intersection of Kraemer Boulevard and Crowther Avenue was closed for about two years so that the undercrossing could be completed. Since the project was completed, cars now move unrestricted under the railroad tracks, enhancing safety by reducing the risk of collisions between trains and vehicles, and significantly reducing traffic delays.