Calling it the most important issue to affect Placentia for decades to come, the City Council recently agreed to pursue a plan to lower railroad tracks along Orangethorpe Avenue.
The five-mile stretch of track became the focus of debate after county transportation officials proposed building overpasses or underpasses to reduce long traffic delays. Rail traffic is expected to double in coming years. Nine streets cross the tracks along Orangethorpe between Lakeview and Placentia avenues.
Council members, opposed to the county plan, declared that lowering the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks is the only acceptable alternative. Lowering the tracks into a trench would eliminate the need to condemn homes and businesses to make way for overpasses or underpasses.
"If we don't lower it, people will have noise and their homes will be impacted. It's extremely important," Councilwoman Carol Downey said.
Public Works Director Christopher Becker said the next step is to seek funding for the project, estimated to cost $312 million, about $56 million more than the county plan.
The city also will develop a public information program about the track-lowering proposal.
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Five miles of track would run under Placentia's streets and flood control channels to a depth of 40 feet. Construction could begin around 2006, take about two years and cost about $312 million.
Source: city of Placentia