caltrain.jpgLocal officials were on hand in San Bruno this afternoon to cut a cake in the shape of a Caltrain vehicle, celebrating the beginning of construction for a project to raise Caltrain tracks above several busy intersections in the city.

The $165 million San Bruno Grade Separation Project will elevate Caltrain tracks above San Bruno Avenue, San Mateo Avenue and Angus Avenue, improving pedestrian safety and traffic circulation downtown.

San Carlos city councilman and Caltrain board member Omar Ahmad addressed a crowd of about 100 people at the ceremony and spoke of the difficulty of getting a large transportation project completed.

“Grade separations are hard things to get through,” Ahmad said.

“This is the right thing you’ve done for San Bruno.”

The project includes a 201-space parking lot, a “kiss and ride” drop-off lot, and a new, elevated Caltrain station that will replace the current San Bruno Station at San Mateo and San Bruno avenues.

The grade separation project is expected to take two years to complete.

“The next two years are not going to be easy,” San Bruno City Councilman Ken Ibarra said, “but 2012 is just around the bend.”

The tracks themselves will begin to rise near Sylvan Avenue at the southern end and near Interstate Highway 380 to the north.

The project is being funded by the San Mateo County Transportation Authority and the California Public Utilities Commission.

“This is a good transportation day for us,” San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane said.

Chris Cooney, Bay City News

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