Orange County Line railroad tracks which were closed in San Clemente June 5 due to a landslide above the tracks and possible boulder obstruction are to reopen July 17.
Metrolink and Amtrak Pacific Surfliner trains will be able to travel through the area again thanks to the emergency construction of a temporary barrier wall protecting the tracks from debris, officials said.
The board of the Orange County Transportation Authority, which owns the track, voted June 12 to declare an emergency to expedite construction of the 250-foot long by 12-feet tall barrier wall.
San Clemente Mayor Chris Duncan confirmed in early June that an Amtrak train heading north out of San Diego on the tracks just to the south of the slide was forced to stop and reverse at Fisherman's Restaurant in San Clemente, located at 611 Avenida Victoria, and head back down to Oceanside.
The first mudslide nearhappened on April 27, causing Metrolink and Surfliner rail services to shut down. Service resumed again on May 27, then shut down again June 5.
"We've had our contractor in here re-grading the hillside, trying to make it safe by sort of rounding it off. They just finished that work actually 11 p.m. last night. We were giving each other high fives, 'OK, we're good. It's going to be stable,'" said Duncan. "But it's a clay-sandy mixture that's just got a lot of viscosity. It doesn't stabilize. It doesn't stick together. And so we saw this morning with even just a little bit of moisture, it moved again, about five feet downward and towards the coast. So this is a big issue. But we're not unfamiliar with that."
San Clemente officials have been working for months to stabilize the hillside above the track near Casa Romantica Culture Center and Gardens, which has also been affected by the sliding hill.
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