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The Orange County Transit Authority (OCTA) and local government officials recently marked the completion or near completion of two rail bridge projects as part of a broader effort by Orange, County, Calif., to separate car and pedestrian traffic from a freight-rail line, the authority announced earlier this week.A ceremony was held Tuesday on top of the new Orangethorpe Avenue overpass near Miller Street at the border of Placentia and Anaheim, Calif. Construction has been underway for the past three years on the Orangethorpe overpass and the Tustin Avenue/Rose Road overpass. Both structures cross a BNSF Railway Co. line over which at least 70 trains travel daily. The number of trains is projected to increase to 130 trains per day by 2030, according to an OCTA press release.The overpasses were designed to improve travel times, cut down on air pollution by eliminating the need for cars to idle at rail gates, and enhance safety.Both overpasses are part of O.C. Bridges, a $630 million program to separate seven crossings from rail tracks in Placentia, Anaheim and Fullerton. The Orangethorpe project cost $110.5 million, while the Tustin/Rose cost $94.3 million. Measure M funds accounted for $38.1 million toward project construction, and helped leverage state and federal funding, OCTA officials said.Tustin/Rose is open, while Orangethorpe is nearing completion and expected to open in the next 30 days.Underpasses are already open at Placentia Avenue and at Kraemer Boulevard. Construction on the final three projects in the O.C. Bridges program — at State College Boulevard, Raymond Avenue and Lakeview Avenue — are underway and expected to open by 2018.
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