Iconic bridge starting to shape up for Foothill Extension Gold Line

This 14-foot wide Auger was used to drill foundation holes for the bridge abutments.

Local media were provided a nice tour this morning of the work being done on the “Iconic Bridge” being built over the eastbound 210 freeway for the Gold Line Foothill Extension in Arcadia. The Measure R-funded project will extend the existing Gold Line from its terminus at Sierra Madre Villa in Pasadena for 11.5 miles to the Azusa/Glendora border, a trip that will only take about 20 minutes.

The 584-foot linear bridge will carry the tracks from the median of the 210 to the south side of the freeway. The old single-track railroad bridge — at that point, long out of use — was torn down in 1997 because it needed serious seismic upgrades and was too narrow to accommodate the tracks in both directions needed for light rail. The new bridge almost sits atop the footprint of the old bridge.

The SR 100 Soilmec Drill Rig makes its way across the eastbound 210 last month to complete the foundations for two of the bridge's three abutments.

Skanska, the contractor, began serious work on the $18.6-million bridge over the summer and is scheduled to be complete in July 2012. The steel frame for two of the three bridge columns (and their associated deep foundations) are in the ground and the third is being installed this week. The two deep completed foundations are 110-feet-deep and 11-feet in diameter — motorists on the 210 can only see the 16 feet steel skeletons that are above ground. The accompanying photos show some of the work done to date.

A few other interesting factoids about the project:

•The three deep foundations have nearly 11 miles of rebar, as well as more than 1,300 cubic yards of concrete from Irwindale (local materials!). They also have a relatively new technology — never used before by Metro — that that in the future will allow Metro to check the structural integrity of the concrete after earthquakes by measuring electrical pulses traveling along wires inside each abutment.

•In December, work crews will begin installing the falsework allowing them to build the bridge itself. The temporary support for the bridge must span the width of the freeway for the entire stretch across the freeway, which will create a tunnel of sorts for the eastbound 210 while work is being done.

Crews maneuver a 75-ton steel reinforcing cage that was placed inside one of the 110-foot deep foundation holes for a bridge abutment.

•As work proceeds on the project, there will be more late night closures of the eastbound 210. Register here for updates from the Foothill Extension Construction Authority, the independent agency building the project that upon completion will be turned over to Metro to operate.

•This is one of 17 bridges  that must be built, rebuilt or widened for the Foothill Extension, which is following an old railroad right-of-way once used by the Santa Fe Railroad. Another big structure will be the bridge that will carry tracks over the San Gabriel River — which should offer amazing views of the San Gabriel Mountains. There will also be a bridge where the tracks will cross over a new underpass for Santa Anita Avenue in Arcadia. That means Gold Line tracks will be completely grade-separated from the Del Mar station in Pasadena to east of the Arcadia station, which makes for higher train speeds.

•Construction work on the actual right-of-way is scheduled to start next spring. That work will involve utility relocation, grading, track installation and the building of the six station platforms.

To put it another way, work on the Foothill Extension is well underway and San Gabriel Valley residents should expect to see a lot of activity around the line from now until its scheduled completion date in 2015.

A rendering of the Iconic Bridge for the Foothill Extension Gold Line.

6 thoughts on “Iconic bridge starting to shape up for Foothill Extension Gold Line

  1. That Iconic Bridge looks a bit scary and imposing – I’ll be driving under it every day … but we really need that train service in Arcadia!

  2. Like ArcadiaSteve, I’m happy to see progress on this line, but it looks like we’ll be driving through the legs of a dragon!

  3. Is Iconic Bridge the official name or are we jumping the gun on christening this as iconic?

    • Hi there;

      Iconic bridge is the name given to the structure by the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority. I don’t know if it will stick, although I like the design. In the meantime, you can also call it the “New Gold Line Bridge!” :)

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  4. I believe that, ‘iconic bridge’ was a working name and the idea that the GLFECA had in mind, when seeking proposals. Maybe it should be called the ‘Basket Bridge’.

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