Orange County Transportation Authority board members voted Monday to declare an emergency to expedite development of a barrier to shore up the sliding hillside in San Clemente that has shut down passenger rail site visitors to San Diego.
The authority owns the tracks utilized by Amtrak, Metrolink and freight railroads in Orange County. The route, which is the one rail connection to San Diego, has been closed to passenger trains since final week, although freight trains proceed to function at diminished pace.
“The emergency declaration offers the CEO authority to approve contracts greater than $250,000,” Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley advised Metropolis Information Service.
The emergency declaration is a solution to expedite the method of hiring a contractor to erect a wall the place the hill is sliding to maintain particles off the tracks, mentioned Foley, who additionally serves on the OCTA board.
The emergency declaration might then be folded into the county’s emergency declaration to recoup Federal Emergency Administration Company funding from storm injury, Foley mentioned.
“We needed to do an emergency declaration as a result of we don’t have time to undergo the bidding course of and all that,” Foley mentioned, including there’s a sense of urgency to get the trains working.
San Clemente officers are in the meantime working to stabilize the hillside above the monitor close to Casa Romantica Tradition Heart and Gardens, which has additionally been affected by the sliding hill.
Officers don’t but know when rail service might return to regular.
“As all the time, passenger security will information each motion we take,” Johnson mentioned. “We perceive how tough this closure is for the individuals who depend on rail service via San Clemente and we’ll work onerous to get service working once more safely.”
The primary mudslide close to Casa Romantica occurred on April 27. Rail service was shut down, however resumed once more on Could 27, however one other mudslide on June 5 compelled one other closure.
Metropolis Information Service contributed to this text.