Transit officials announce plans to build barrier wall along train tracks in San Clemente

The Orange County Transit Authority will be constructing a barrier wall near a stretch of railroad tracks that has recently been affected by landslides, transit officials said.

On Jan. 24, part of the Mariposa Bridge pedestrian walkway in San Clemente partially collapsed onto the tracks below and prohibited any trains from passing through.

The recent landslide marks the fifth time in three years that passenger train service has been halted due to eroding bluffs in San Clemente, leaving residents concerned about future disruptions.

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More than a week later, crews are still inspecting the hillside by Mariposa Bridge, where soil movement has “slowed significantly since the [landslide] but still continues,” OCTA said.

While the current damage is being cleaned up, transit officials are looking ahead towards future damage mitigation.

  • Aerial view shows the slumping hillside where a pedestrian bridge came loose in San Clemente, sending debris onto the train tracks below on Jan. 24, 2024. (Orange County Transit Authority via Katrina Foley)
    Aerial view shows the slumping hillside where a pedestrian bridge came loose in San Clemente, sending debris onto the train tracks below on Jan. 24, 2024. (Orange County Transit Authority via Katrina Foley)
  • Aerial view shows the slumping hillside where a pedestrian bridge came loose in San Clemente, sending debris onto the train tracks below on Jan. 24, 2024. (Orange County Transit Authority via Katrina Foley)
    Aerial view shows the slumping hillside where a pedestrian bridge came loose in San Clemente, sending debris onto the train tracks below on Jan. 24, 2024. (Orange County Transit Authority via Katrina Foley)
  • Rail service still suspended as crews continue removing landslide debris from tracks in O.C.
    Aerial view shows the slumping hillside where a pedestrian bridge came loose in San Clemente, sending debris onto the train tracks below on Jan. 24, 2024.
  • Rail service still suspended as crews continue removing landslide debris from tracks in O.C.
    Crews working to clean up landslide debris from railroad tracks in San Clemente, CA.
  • Rail service still suspended as crews continue removing landslide debris from tracks in O.C.
    Crews working to clean up landslide debris from railroad tracks in San Clemente, CA. (Matthew Spector)
  • Rail service still suspended as crews continue removing landslide debris from tracks in O.C.
    Crews working to clean up landslide debris from railroad tracks in San Clemente, CA.

“OCTA and Metrolink announced that the project team will move forward with plans to build a barrier wall to protect tracks from sliding land in San Clemente near the Mariposa pedestrian bridge,” OCTA officials said in a statement. “The collective goal of all agencies is to protect the vital rail line and safely restore passenger rail service through San Clemente as soon as possible.”

In addition, OCTA is also conducting a study of long-term solutions for railroad tracks along a seven mile stretch of coastal Orange County, officials confirmed.

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OCTA and Metrolink’s decision to build the wall was made in consultation with Caltrans, BNSF and the LOSSAN Rail Corridor agency and also came just one day after state officials declared the landslide an official emergency, the statement said.

No timetable for when the barrier wall would be finished was released.

Crews are remaining at the site throughout the severe storm hitting SoCal this weekend to monitor the hillside, officials said.

For updates on rail service, visit the Metrolink and Pacific Surfliner websites

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