A 900-feet railroad bridge over the San Diego River opened Monday as part of an effort to add a second set of tracks to improve train reliability and increase service frequency.

The bridge, which is north of the Old Town Transit Center, began carrying Coaster and Amtrak trains Monday morning. Crews were set to immediately begin demolishing the old bridge to make room for a second new bridge that will carry the second set of tracks, according to the San Diego Association of Governments.

When complete, the project will add a second, 0.9-mile main track from Tecolote Road to just north of the Old Town Transit Center. The result will be a continuous seven-mile double track for the southernmost portion of the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor from Garnet and Balboa avenues to the Santa Fe Depot, according to SANDAG.

The 351-mile passenger rail corridor, known as LOSSAN, is the country’s second-busiest.

“The San Diego River double track project is a critical piece of the effort to double-track the coastal rail corridor in San Diego,” said SANDAG board chairman and Del Mar City Councilman Terry Sinnott. “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.”

Double tracking allows two trains traveling in opposite directions to pass without slowing or stopping, according to SANDAG.

Amtrak and North County Transit District plan to increase the number of trains along the corridor.

More than 60 percent of the $93.9 million project is funded with federal dollars, with the remainder coming from state money and TransNet, the half-cent sales tax for transportation in San Diego County.

— City News Service