SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Democratic Congressman Mike Levin along with San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Chair Catherine Blakespear and Oceanside Mayor Esther Sanchez provided an update Tuesday on a plan to replace the 100-year-old San Luis Rey River Bridge in Oceanside.
The San Diego Association of Governments will receive $27.3 million from a Department of Transportation program using funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The Deputy and CEO of SANDAG, Coleen Clementson, spoke with CBS 8 about what this project will look like and how it will improve rider experience.
"It's not as fast as we would like it to be and so the improvements we're talking about will help us do some double tracking. So if you ever sat on the train and wondered, 'why am I sitting here, why has it stopped?', that's because you have to wait for other rail cars to pass. So these improvements will help speed that up. It's a major safety issue where we're replacing a bridge that's old and has been impacted by climate change -- so we're talking about safety and speed," Clementson said.
Clementson says a double-track concrete bridge will replace the existing structure, which currently creates a single-track bottleneck more than half a mile long for the Amtrak, Metrolink, and BNSF freight trains that use the route.
The federal funding will also facilitate improvements to the adjacent bike path, a pedestrian underpass, a Quiet Zone crossing, and more improvements.
Congressman Levin says this is a long-term investment for the second busiest inter-city passenger rail corridor in the United States and the busiest state-supported Amtrak route.
Although $27.3 million may seem like a lot of money, it’s only a down payment for the project allowing the construction to get started. More funding will be needed to continue to make improvements on this railway, as more than three million people a year use this to commute up and down our coast.
WATCH: Plan to replace 100-year-old San Luis Rey River Bridge in Oceanside (Oct. 2022)