Gold Line Foothill Extension project picks contractor to build Pasadena to Azusa light rail line

Big news this afternoon on a key Measure R transit project: A $485.9-million contract has been awarded to a joint venture of two firms, Kiewit and Parsons, to build the 11.5-mile extension of the Gold Line from eastern Pasadena to the Azusa/Glendora border.

The contract approved by the Board of the Foothill Extension Construction Authority means that work in earnest should begin on the line in 2012 with a scheduled opening of 2015. It’s a big victory for Foothill community residents in the San Gabriel Valley who live far removed from both the current terminus of the Gold Line in eastern Pasadena and Metrolink service.

The Foothill Extension will have stations in downtown Arcadia and Azusa, as well as a station near downtown Monrovia. The Duarte station is across the street from the City of Hope, the Irwindale station is adjacent to a major industrial park and the final station is next to Citrus College and Azusa Pacific University.

A separate contract to build a bridge to carry the Gold Line tracks from the median of the 210 freeway into Arcadia has already been awarded to Skanska. Work on the bridge is currently underway.

The one remaining issue for the project is to acquire all the land needed for a rail maintenance yard in Monrovia. The Construction Authority last week struck a deal to buy 14 acres from the city of Monrovia needed for the yard. The owner of another parcel needed for the yard has filed a lawsuit against Monrovia to block eminent domain proceedings. (Here’s a helpful editorial about the issue from the Pasadena Star News).

Still, the big picture here is developing well: Measure R is happening and it’s happening now in different corners of sprawling Los Angeles County.

The second phase of the Expo Line from Culver City to Santa Monica on the Westside is scheduled to break ground later this year. It, too, is supposed to open in 2015, meaning that within four years it could be possible for residents of eastern Los Angeles County to take rail to the western side of the county.

The Orange Line busway extension in the western San Fernando Valley is presently under construction and is scheduled to open in 2012.

The final environmental impact reports — the precursor to construction — for three other Measure R rail projects should also be approved by the Metro Board of Directors later this year: the Crenshaw/LAX Line, the Westside Subway Extension and the Regional Connector.

And early planning studies are underway for the Green Line Extension in the South Bay, an extension of the Eastside Gold Line, three north-south bus corridors in the San Fernando Valley and the West Santa Ana branch transit project, which seeks to add a transit project to an old streetcar right-of-way in the southeast part of the county.

Here is the press release from the Foothill Extension Construction Authority:

BOARD AWARDS $486 MILLION CONTRACT FOR 11.5 MILE GOLD LINE FOOTHILL EXTENSION FROM PASADENA TO AZUSA LIGHT RAIL PROJECT

ARCADIA, CA – Today, the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority Board of Directors awarded a $485.9 million contract to “Foothill Transit Constructors – A Kiewit Parsons Joint Venture” to design and construct the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension from Pasadena to Azusa.

The project includes final design and construction of 11.5 miles of track, six stations, dozens of crossings, utilities, systems and much, much more. The project will take approximately four years to complete and is estimated to create nearly 7,000 jobs and $1 billion of economic output during construction (according to Christine Cooper, Director of LAEDC’s Economic and Policy Analysis Group).

“This team presented the best of both worlds; the top ranked technical proposal and the lowest bid” said Construction Authority Board Chairman and Glendora Mayor Doug Tessitor. “I am happy with the outcome and the selected team, and applaud the significant effort staff at the Authority put into conducting this procurement. Ultimately, we had three excellent teams vying for this important project, and the best team won.”

Kiewit and Parsons have teamed up nearly 20 times in the last decade to complete design-build projects and have designed and built more than 60 major infrastructure projects in the last forty years. Both are award-winning companies, providing world-renowned experience in successful completion of light rail transit projects.

Kiewit was the lead team member on Phase 1 of the Gold Line from Los Angeles to Pasadena (with Parsons as the lead design subcontractor), which was completed in 2003 on time and under budget. Kiewit also recently oversaw demolition of the Mulholland Bridge (part of the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvement Project). Coined by the media as “Carmageddon” for its potential impacts to Los Angeles’ heavily congested traffic corridor, the demolition was completed by Kiewit Pacific 17 hours ahead of schedule.

“Kiewit and Parsons both enjoy a long-time relationship with the Construction Authority, having both worked with the agency since 1999 when we began design on Phase 1. It is an honor to be chosen to continue that work 12 more miles east and to have a chance to work again with the hard working and dedicated team at the Construction Authority” said Bill Westland, Vice President & Area Manager, Kiewit Infrastructure West Co.

This contract award keeps the first Measure R rail project to go to construction on schedule for a 2015 delivery.

9 replies

  1. Fascinating news, I can’t wait. Been looking forward to the Gold Line Foothill extension for years. However, I have my doubts that it will be done by 2015, that is only three years (2012-2015) for construction, and as usual the completion will be delayed by numerous problems that always pop up along the way. Nonetheless, though, I have my fingers crossed.

    • Hi M. Smith;

      Construction can be tricky for any large project, but I like the chances of this one being done by 2015. Mostly because it’s a largely at-grade project with no tunnels and relatively few bridges along an existing rail right-of-way. And work on the big bridge over the eastbound 210 is underway. My hunch is that once they get going on the project, progress will be quick. Also, it doesn’t pay for contractors to take too long — the quicker they work, the better the bottom line for them.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  2. I hope this progress continues all the way so that it’ll eventually link up with LA/Ontario Airport.

  3. Hi, the link you posted in the article above (Foothill Extension Construction Authority) is going to a church site…..

  4. And don’t forget that every single city along the extension has been actively courting this project for years now. Many have already changed their zoning in anticipation. The Construction Authority has had all sorts of community outreach programs promoting it. Everyone WANTS this to happen quickly because it means wonderful things for the historic town centers as well as the major employers in this part of LA County.