FAIRFIELD — The Big Shutdown for Peabody Road will be delayed one more year.
Fairfield intends to build a Peabody Road overpass over the train tracks near Vanden Road as part of its $68 million train station project. It will shut down Peabody Road at the tracks for one year. The closure was to begin in June 2014.
But the city a few months ago failed to get a $9 million federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant. That put the project timeline at risk.
City officials announced Thursday that construction is now slated to begin in summer of 2015. They will try to repackage the project to fit with available funds, even as they try to find another source for the missing $9 million.
“It’s a complicated project with a lot of things going on,” Public Works Director George Hicks said. “The biggest driver in this change is we didn’t get the TIGER grant.”
Peabody Road during rush hour carries drivers heading to local jobs, to nearby Travis School District schools, to Travis Air Force Base and more. It is a major link between Fairfield and Vacaville.
Fairfield officials have long said a key to the overpass construction project is that the road shutdown begins one summer and ends the next. Peabody Road is to be shut near Vanden Road for only one school year to limit the effects on school traffic.
That means a delay in a summer 2014 start for the closure results in a one-year delay.
“We remain enthusiastic about this huge construction project for our community,” City Manager Sean Quinn said in a press release. “But we must be diligent to ensure the appropriate phasing of the project and hold to our commitments to our community partners.”
Fairfield looks forward to bringing the new train station to the community, Quinn said.
This is the second time Fairfield has delayed the Peabody Road closure. The closure was originally to begin in June 2013, only to be delayed a year because the city had to deal with multiple utility lines and companies to a degree beyond what it had expected.
The train station project at Peabody and Vanden roads was much simpler during its early incarnations in the mid-1990s. It was to cost less than $10 million and simply be a stop for the Capitol Corridor trains that travel between Sacramento and the Bay Area.
As the city worked with Union Pacific, the owner of the train tracks, the project grew in scope. Union Pacific wanted such features as track realignments and a middle boarding platform that could be reached without crossing the tracks. Fairfield’s plans call for a tunnel leading to the platform.
Union Pacific also wanted to eliminate the nearby at-grade railroad crossing at Peabody Road for safety reasons. That is how plans to build a bridge to take Peabody Road over the tracks became linked with the train station project.
Such an overpass also fit in with Fairfield’s own plans to build an entire community with the train station as a focus. A busy Peabody Road would become busier.
With the changes, however, the train station project grew into one of Fairfield’s bigger public works projects in recent decades. It became a more complicated and more expensive project.
Fairfield earlier this year had wanted to open the train station in early 2016. Hicks said the one-year delay to close Peabody Road at the tracks for the overpass construction will probably also delay the opening of the train stop by a year.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.