Bye Bye Trestles — Right on Track for Removal

13 09 2011

September 1, the end of the nesting season, has come and gone.  So, the forces have moved in to get ‘er done.

A Different "Lineup" for Trestles

According to one of the onsite construction officials, the contractor that is rebuilding the trestles is right on schedule.  They hope to have all the work done and be off the site by the end of 2011.  They did a lot of the foundation work earlier this year, before nesting season.

In order to complete their work on time, they are actually going to completely shut down the railroad, the only direct rail link between Los Angeles and San Diego, for at least three full weekends.  That in itself should be interesting.  Sorry Johnny, you won’t be able to tell time by the train whistles going through San Clemente during those times.

Sharing the Footpath--Contractors and Surfers

I was assured by the official that it is written into the contract that access to the beach has to be maintained at all times.  That means surfers rated higher than the railroad–that’s a first.  I have to admit, I haven’t heard of any problems to the contrary.

So, when they get done, the trestles will be solid concrete.  Get your nostalgic photos while you can.

The piers are being poured over the next few weeks, getting the column caps ready for the shutdowns.  When they shut down the rail, the wooden sections will be removed, concrete beams will be laid across and underneath the tracks.  Once formed, these saddle shaped supports are called bents in bridge parlance.  The new rails will be laid over multiple bents.

Column rebar cages coated with purple epoxy to protect the steel from the salty environment

I already asked how to get a piece of the old creosote-soaked wooden members from the original trestles.  The official said they have to handle the wood as hazardous material and have to account for every ounce removed.  So, officially, there is no way to get your own piece of the trestles.   Hmmmmmmm.

So, enjoy your last days crossing under the famous structure that gave our favorite break its name as we cross the bridge to the future.

I guess the good news out of this change is that, with the higher traffic capacity that will be allowed with the improved trestles, there will be more tourists to wave at as the trains fly by.  Just make sure you use your whole hand when you wave to them.  🙂