Foothill Extension substantially completed!

A Gold Line test train crosses the new rail bridge over the San Gabriel River.

A test train leaving the Irwindale Station.

A test train leaving the Irwindale Station.

IMG_6056 (Large)

A test train at the downtown Azusa Station.

Officials with the Foothill Extension Construction Authority and the contractor sign the certificate of substantial completion on Wednesday morning in Monrovia. Photo: Steve Hymon/Metro.

Officials with the Foothill Extension Construction Authority and the contractor sign the certificate of substantial completion on Wednesday morning in Monrovia. Photo: Steve Hymon/Metro.

A big congratulations to the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, which today announced the substantial completion of construction of the 11.5-mile project that extends the Gold Line from eastern Pasadena to the Azusa/Glendora border. ‘Substantial completion’ means the project is ready for use with only a few small tasks — basically clean-up items — to be done.

IMG_2332The Construction Authority is the independent agency charged with building the project. With construction basically done, the Authority will begin the process of handing over the project to Metro. In turn, Metro can then begin pre-revenue service — i.e. further testing and employee training. Metro CEO Phil Washington said that within the next month he expects to announce the date the project will open in the first half of 2016.

The Foothill Extension follows a freight railroad right-of-way that has been in existence for many decades — and was once the route of the famed Santa Fe Super Chief that ran between Los Angeles and Chicago. The Foothill Extension project will include stations in downtown Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte/City of Hope, Irwindale, downtown Azusa and adjacent to Citrus College, Azusa Pacific University and the Rosedale development. Parking will be available at all stations and the ride is expected to take about 50 minutes from Union Station to the end-0f-the-line in Azusa.

There were three construction contracts that covered the project — one for the 210 bridge, one for the main track alignment and one for the parking structures. Work on the first of the structures, the 210 bridge, began in mid-2010.

Overall, the project included 28 miles of track, a 24-acre rail car maintenance facility in Monrovia, four miles of relocated freight railroad track, two dozen bridges, 14 at-grade street crossings, six stations and associated parking lots and garages.

Metro would like to thank and congratulate everyone at the Foothill Extension Construction Authority and the many workers with the three contractors on the project — Kiewit Parsons Joint Venture (which built the main alignment and rail yard), Skanska USA (which built the bridge over the 210) and Webcor Builders (which built the parking structures and enhancements). A special thanks goes out to the many construction workers who toiled during some brutally hot San Gabriel Valley weather the past few summers.

Click to see larger version.

Click to see larger version.

The news release from the Construction Authority is below:

Foothill Gold Line from Pasadena to Azusa Reaches Substantial Completion

With Today’s Announcement of the Third and Final Design-Build Contract Reaching Substantial

Completion, the $1 Billion, Six-Station Light Rail Project is Completed On Time and On Budget

Monrovia, CA – The Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority (Construction Authority) announced substantial completion of the third and final design-build contract for the $1 billion Foothill Gold Line from Pasadena to Azusa during a press conference at their headquarters this morning. The alignment design-build contract was completed by Foothill Transit Constructors – a Kiewit-Parsons Joint Venture over the last four years, and included design and construction of all elements of the 11.5-mile light rail project with the exception of the Gold Line Bridge over the I-210 Freeway and five intermodal parking facilities (each completed on time and on budget under separate contracts). The $515 million alignment contract included design and construction of six new stations, the 24-acre Operations Campus, 28-miles of light rail track, four miles of relocated freight track, two dozen bridges, fourteen at grade street crossings, all power and systems elements, testing of the line, and much more.

“The Foothill Transit Constructors team did an outstanding job designing and constructing the light rail project,” stated Construction Authority CEO Habib F. Balian at the press conference. “It is unusual for a billion dollar public infrastructure project to come in on time and on budget, but they were partners with the Construction Authority from the start and I am pleased to say we ended as partners as well.”

With this final contract completed, the Foothill Gold Line from Pasadena to Azusa will now be turned over to Metro for pre-revenue service, a phase of training for operators, emergency responders and the community. Metro anticipates starting pre-revenue service in the coming days and passenger service in Spring 2016. An opening date has not yet been determined, but Metro has committed to announcing a start date within 30 days of turn-over.

“Reaching substantial completion is an important achievement for the entire team at the Construction Authority, Metro, and with our contractors and consultants,” added Balian. “We are proud to be the first light rail project funded by Measure R to have broken ground and to now be completed, and we look forward to handing the project over to Metro as they prepare to put the extension on-line in 2016.”

The Foothill Gold Line from Pasadena to Azusa broke ground in June 2010. Over the last five years of design and construction, the team logged more than 2.4 million work hours and completed with an excellent safety record. It was estimated by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation that nearly 7,000 jobs were created during the last five years on the project.


About the Foothill Gold Line – The Foothill Gold Line is a nearly $2 billion, 12-station extension of the Metro Gold Line light rail system, being overseen by the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority, an independent transportation planning and construction agency created in 1998 by the California State Legislature. The project is planned in two segments – Pasadena to Azusa and Azusa to Montclair. The Pasadena to Azusa segment is fully funded by Los Angeles County’s Measure R. Metro anticipates starting passenger service in 2016; a date for service to begin will be announced soon by Metro.  Measure R is funding the majority of the cost associated with the advanced engineering and environmental work currently underway for the Azusa to Montclair segment, which will ready the project for a design-build procurement in 2017. The Construction Authority is currently seeking the $1 billion needed to construct the Azusa to Montclair segment.

17 replies

  1. We are super excited about the Gold line extension. Just last weekend, we missed the train at the Metrolink station (Covina station) returning to Union Station and had to wait 3 hours for another train (Metrolink should run more trains obviously). Instead of waiting, we decided to ride our bicycles over to the Metro Gold line station in Sierra Madre (10+ miles) in the 100+ degree heat. Having the convenience of jumping on the extension in Irwindale/Azusa would have been great. The train system is improving over time. Lets keep the momentum going Metro!

    • Good luck biking to the stations in Irwindale and Azusa. I’m looking at the LA County Bike Map and I see exactly zero bike paths, bike lanes or bike routes serving those stations.

      • Yes, we see your point. Although, the streets were much more accommodating (wider lanes) than those in Glendale for cyclists. The cars go just as fast in both places. A few bike lanes (on the wide streets) would certainly serve the Azusa area well. As for last weekend’s destination, we would have been less than a mile (riding on Foothill Blvd.) from the extension station. The hosts of the party that we attended said that most bicycle riders stick to the San Gabriel River trail — running North/South.

      • Plenty of cyclists in the foothill area. A lot of pros and semi-pros train along the major blvds, up the mountins, and along the river trails. Wide lanes and polite/non-crazy drivers make the area actually not too bad to ride.

        Not to say it doesn’t need more bike lanes for casual riders, but riding is very possible.

  2. It’s so sad that we can have a line like this in the valley. The metrolink Ventura county line is under utilized and the orange line to the redline into downtown is way slow. Would be nice to have an alternative to the 101. ? why must valleyites suffer because of high rent AND poor planning from past generations? I’ts depressing

    • I’ve heard Metro has done studies on converting the Orange line to rail. Even without rail, the orange line and easily be tweaked to make the trip to North Hollywood red line faster (express bus, signal priority). In the end though, it was your own representatives that made sure the Valley has no rail.

    • We agree. Metrolink should run more trains during the week days and start running trains on the weekends. Residents are not aware of the reach of the Metrolink train system in the valley — since there are no trains running on critical days (weekend days off to explore). We hope that this changes in the near future. There is no construction needed (as in the case of changing the orange line to a rail) just add more trains. The potential of the Metrolink to shuttle people into and out of the valley is enormous. We enjoy traveling all around the Southern California region for free on the weekends using the Monthly passes on all bus and train systems (Metro and Metrolink).

    • Laws can be reversed.

      You are free to gather up as many supporters in the SFV region to repeal the 1998 law that most Valley residents passed back then which prevents Measure A & C funds being used to construct new subways. That’ll free up a lot of funds and may end up giving Metro additional options to explore extending the Red Line toward more areas in the Valley.

      You want change, learn how government works and what powers you have. In America, government is not absolute, it’s we the people who controls government and that any law that were passed can always be reversed if the people are willing to do so.

  3. “Metro anticipates starting pre-revenue service in the coming days and passenger service in Spring 2016. An opening date has not yet been determined, but Metro has committed to announcing a start date within 30 days of turn-over.”

    So the clock has started. I also noticed this: ” We don’t have an opening date yet, but Metro has budgeted for the project to open in the first half of 2016.” That is a broader range, but it could mean that the date is earlier than March 20. It also adds the last few days of June.

    Just having fun trying to read the tea leaves. 🙂