A new rail bridge has opened over the San Diego River in California, US, as a part of the San Diego River Double Track (SDRDT) project, which aims to increase service frequency and improve passenger and freight rail capacity in the region.

According to the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), the first track of the 900ft bridge was opened for rail traffic movement under the initiative.

The project will see the old rail bridge be demolished in order to accommodate a new parallel bridge, which will complete the double-tracking over the San Diego River.

“The San Diego River Double Track project is a critical piece of the effort to double track the coastal rail corridor in San Diego.”

SANDAG board chair Terry Sinnott said: “The San Diego River Double Track project is a critical piece of the effort to double track the coastal rail corridor in San Diego.

“Double tracking will support the growth in rail service and increase safety and reliability.

“These are critical improvements to San Diego’s only rail connection to the rest of the nation.”

The California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) previously awarded a grant of $66m in Cap and Trade auction proceeds for the completion of three coastal rail projects in San Diego, including the San Diego River Double Track development.

The entire project is estimated to cost $93.9m and includes design, environmental planning, construction, permitting and signal installation works.

Construction of the San Diego River bridge forms an important part of the double-tracking initiative led by SANDAG and the North County Transit District, which operates the San Diego County section of Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) corridor.

LOSSAN spans across six counties with almost 351 miles of track and is said to be one of the busiest inter-city passenger rail corridor in the US.

Work on the SDRDT project is expected to be completed next year.