Future “Gateway to San Gabriel Valley” moves forward

Below is the news release from the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, the independent agency building the Measure R-funded project, including the bridge that will carry the tracks from the 210 freeway median across the eastbound lanes toward the downtown Arcadia station:

MONROVIA – The I-210 Gold Line Bridge, which will one day serve as the “Gateway to the San Gabriel Valley,” moved closer to completion with the approval of its final design by Caltrans and the Construction Authority, the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority announced today. The bridge is the first component of the 11.5-mile Gold Line Foothill Extension light rail project from Pasadena to Azusa to advance from the design phase to the construction phase.

“We started this design process with an exciting artist’s concept paying homage to the region’s historic Native American basket-weaving tradition,” said Habib F. Balian, CEO for the Construction Authority. “That vision has moved from concept to design over the last year, and the bridge’s final design has improved through that process.”

The $18.6 million bridge, which has been undergoing design and pre-construction since August 2010, is being built by Skanska USA, the design-build contractor. Since the contract was awarded last year, the Construction Authority and Skanska’s primary design subcontractor (AECOM) have been working with Caltrans and Metro to integrate their different design standards into the structural and aesthetics design for the bridge, going through multiple design submittals with increasing level of detail.

The original concept for the bridge design was envisioned by internationally-recognized and award-winning artist Andrew Leicester, selected to be the project’s Design Concept Advisor following a competitive, international search. With two prominent “basket” columns and a curve-shaped underside of the superstructure, Leicester’s design recognizes the region’s original American Indian inhabitants and the important role they played in the development of the San Gabriel Valley. Leicester continued to play an advisory role as the design for the bridge developed and will supervise construction of design elements in the coming months.

“The bridge is the most visible element of the Foothill Extension project, and we wanted to utilize that prominence to create a true gateway to the San Gabriel Valley,” said Doug Tessitor, Construction Authority board chairman and Glendora mayor. “The details on the bridge are representative of the rich and proud heritage of the region and will become an important marker for future generations as they enter the Valley by train or car.”

In addition to the unique design elements, AECOM is integrating Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) technology that has never been used before in bridge foundations. This technology can help assess any damage following an earthquake. The reinforcing steel cages that strengthen the bridge’s 110-foot deep, 11-foot diameter major foundations include wiring placed into the structures that will be able to provide electrical feedback when signals are transmitted down the columns to identify any damage. This “smart column” technology will allow engineers to make an initial assessment regarding the integrity of the columns’ structures electronically rather than relying on the traditional method of digging trenches adjacent to areas where engineers suspect damage could be found.

“The engineers had a true challenge in making the design a reality,” said Balian. “Caltrans required a bridge that can withstand a significant earthquake, Metro added that the structure needs to be operational the day after an event, and the Authority wanted to create an attractive gateway to the San Gabriel Valley. Andrew Leicester and the engineering team met all of these challenges to create a bridge design that will become a recognized, iconic feature for the region.”

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About the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority
The Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority is an independent transportation planning and construction agency created in 1999 by the California State Legislature. Its purpose is to extend the Metro Gold Line from Union Station to the Los Angeles County Line, along the foothills of the San Gabriel Valley.  The Metro Gold Line light rail line opened in 2003, connecting downtown Los Angeles and Pasadena. Los Angeles County’s Measure R half-cent sales tax increase is fully funding the 11.5-mile Foothill Extension project from Pasadena and Azusa. The Foothill Extension from Pasadena to Azusa broke ground in June 2010, and will be completed in 2015. Three design-build contracts, totaling more than $500 million will be awarded to complete this effort.  Future extensions are also planned. For more information, visit: www.foothillextension.org.

About Andrew Leicester

Andrew Leicester is a public artist born and educated in England who immigrated to the U.S. in 1970. He currently resides in Minneapolis, MN. For the past three decades, Mr. Leicester has created public art projects that range in size and scope from small courtyards to municipal transit plazas, park entrances and water gardens throughout the U.S., U.K. and Australia. Mr. Leicester has received numerous awards for his work as well as fellowships from the Bush Foundation, the McKnight Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Internationally recognized as a public artist, as well as a popular lecturer and panelist, he feels his art should exist in the public domain and form links between its specific location and host community. The iconography of his work, often humorous and multilayered, is derived from extensive research of the various social, historical and environmental characteristics of each location. All convey a striking sense of place. For more information, visit: http://andrewleicester.com.

About Skanska USA

Skanska USA Civil is one of the leading development and construction companies in the country. The construction of the $18.6 million I-210 Gold Line Bridge is being performed by their California District which is based in Riverside. Skanska USA is headquartered in New York and has approximately 7,000 employees. For more information, visit: http://www.usa.skanska.com.


AECOM (NYSE: ACM) is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, water and government. With approximately 45,000 employees around the world, AECOM is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves. AECOM provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation, and technical excellence in delivering solutions that enhance and sustain the world’s built, natural, and social environments. A Fortune 500 company, AECOM serves clients in more than 100 countries. AECOM is the lead design contractor to the Skanska USA design-build team for the I-210 Gold Line Bridge project. The design of the project is being completely developed from their downtown Los Angeles office. For more information,visit: http://www.aecom.com.

4 replies

  1. I used to dislike this design, but I have to admit it’s grown on me after a while. I also like the concept of it being a “gateway” for both cars and trains as they enter or exit the rest of the SGV