Local

New San Gabriel trench may help preserve historic mission

View of the front entrance of the San Gabriel Mission. The new San Gabriel train trench is expected to help reduce wear on the historic building.
View of the front entrance of the San Gabriel Mission. The new San Gabriel train trench is expected to help reduce wear on the historic building.
Elisa Perez

A nearly 1 1/2-mile-long railroad trench debuted Monday in San Gabriel, alleviating congestion for the 90,000 daily motorists who once took one of four railroad crossings to get across the tracks.

The new trench cuts out those four traditional rail crossings, sending motorists across bridges spanning the 30-foot-deep trench. Cargo trains will begin passing through the trench in a couple of weeks.

CEO of The Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority constructed the trench. Their CEO Mark Christoffels told KPCC the nearby mission will benefit from the new project.

“Previously, with the trains being at surface level, their vibration obviously impacted the San Gabriel Mission,” Christoffels said. “With the train now being buried in this concrete trench, those vibrations are virtually eliminated, so it will have a preservation effect.”

The project will cost about $313 million in all, which was primarily funded by California's Trade Corridors Improvement Fund. The project won't be fully complete until 2018.