The city of Merced said G Street will be closed for construction of the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe railroad undercrossing beginning Monday, July 12.
Once completed, the project will provide residents with cross-town access travel without having to stop for passing trains, according to a news release.
The $18 million project is expected to take about 18 months to complete. G Street between 23rd and 25th streets will be closed to through traffic during construction. Detour signs will be posted along the streets to guide people around the closed streets.
The railroad staff has said they will begin construction of the track alignments and bridge replacement July 19.
The city said it recently awarded a $5.1 million contract to Tiechert Construction for the project. The city said it encouraged Tiechert to hire local employees and subcontractors whenever possible.
The project is funded by California Transportation Commission, $9 million; Merced Redevelopment Agency, $4.8 million; City Public Facility Financing, $2.3 million; Burlington Northern & Santa Fe RR, $1.9 million.
In addition, the city said it’s spending another $2.4 million for improvements in the project area, including a $1.1 million water line replacement.Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani was instrumental in the City receiving the state grant, according to the news release.
City officials warned that traffic will be heavier throughout the city during the construction. Residents are asked to plan their routes ahead, leave early, consolidate their trips and talk to their employers about alternative work schedules that will avoid peak traffic times. Telecommuting, carpooling, riding The Bus, biking and walking are strongly encouraged.
The completed project will eliminate the delay motorists and trucks experience on Merced streets, the news release said. The undercrossing will help improve air quality, save fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And the project will improve public safety by providing an unhindered route to the city’s one hospital for the majority of residents who live on the north side of the tracks, the news release said.
The road project has its roots in a tragedy occurring almost 80 years ago. It was at the intersection of G Street and the then Santa Fe railroad tracks that a school bus coming from Fremont School was struck by a train. Six students were killed and another 23 were injured. That tragedy on May 7, 1931, helped lead to the legislation that requires all occupied buses to stop at railroad crossings.
Updates on the G Street project will be posted regularly on the city’s website, www.cityofmerced.org and also on Facebook & The Streets of Merced.