Contract awarded to build first segment of Gold Line extension to Pomona with option for extension to Claremont and Montclair

The agency charged with building the Gold Line extension today approved a contract that will build the first nine miles of track from the current terminus in Asuza to Pomona with stations in Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne and Pomona, where riders can transfer between the Gold Line and Metrolink’s San Bernardino Line.

The Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority will build the project and eventually turn it over to Metro, which will operate it. The Authority also included an option in the contract to extend the line to Claremont and Montclair if funding can be secured by Sept. 2021. A decision to build the project in segments was made after the initial construction bids came in higher than the funding in hand due to a variety of factors, including the area’s strong economy.

Here is the news release issued today by the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority:

Monrovia, CA –Today, the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority Board of Directors awarded the main design-build contract for the Foothill Gold Line light rail extension to Kiewit-Parsons, a Joint Venture. The contract includes an $805.6 million base scope for the first nine miles of the project from Glendora to Pomona, with a two-year contract option to complete the full 12.3-mile project to Montclair for a total contract amount of $1,186.9 million if additional funds are secured by September 2021. The base scope includes all elements of design and construction for the first nine-mile segment, including relocation of the existing freight track, installation of the light rail track system, four new light rail stations (in Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne and Pomona), improvements at 40 grade crossings (nearly half with new or renovated bridges) and much more. The contract option would extend the work of the design-build team to complete the full 12.3-mile project to Montclair and add stations in Claremont and Montclair.

“This team presented the best of both worlds; the top ranked team in all technical categories and the lowest bid price based on the formula set out in the RFP for the base scope to Pomona and contract option to Montclair,” said Construction Authority Board Chairman and Pomona Mayor Tim Sandoval. “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 two excellent teams vying for this important project, and the best proposal won.”

Kiewit and Parsons have teamed up dozens of times in the last two decades to complete design-build projects, including successfully building the first two segments of the Foothill Gold Line project which were completed on time and under budget in 2003 and 2015 respectively. They have designed and built hundreds of major infrastructure projects in the last fifty years, and both are award-winning companies, providing world-renowned experience.

“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 from Union Station to Pasadena. It is an honor to be chosen to continue that work east and to have a chance to work again with the hard-working and dedicated team at the Construction Authority,” said Steve McFadden, Area Manager, Kiewit Infrastructure West Co.

The Foothill Gold Line was the first Measure M-funded light rail project to break ground and is named as one of Metro’s 28 priority projects to be completed before the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. In the last 10 months following the Construction Authority receiving bids from all four teams initially competing for the project that were hundreds of millions of dollars above the funding secured, Metro has worked collaboratively with the Construction Authority to ensure the project would move forward and that the design-build contract could be awarded.

“Metro has made completing the Gold Line to Claremont a county priority project for many years, and today’s award is an important step to making that vision a reality,” said Metro Board Chairman and City of Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts. “While we still have work to do to ensure the line is completed to Claremont, today’s contract award ensures completion of the first project phase to Pomona. We remain steadfastly committed to delivering this transit project for taxpayers and extending the Gold Line’s mobility benefits to new San Gabriel Valley communities.”

The project will begin major construction in 2020 and take approximately five years to complete to Pomona and eight years to complete to Montclair, if the contract option is activated. It is estimated that during construction alone, the Foothill Gold Line project will create as many as 16,000 jobs and up to $2.6 billion of economic output for the region, as well as up to $1 billion in labor income and potentially $40 million in tax revenue (according to an economic study by Beacon Economics).

“It took an amazing team effort to reach this important milestone for the project,” added Sandoval. “The dedication by the Metro board and staff to the project is clear, our local state officials came through with funding earlier this year, and just last week 27 members of the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments unanimously supported additional funding be allocated so today’s award could be possible. It took heavy lifting by everyone, and we at the Construction Authority are not taking that lightly. We are ready to go to work and ready to deliver another successful project for this region.”

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About the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority – The Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority is an independent transportation planning and construction agency created in 1998 by the California State Legislature to plan, design and build the Metro Gold Line light rail system from Union Station to Montclair, along the Foothills of the San Gabriel Valley. The agency completed the first segment from Union Station to Pasadena in 2003 and the Pasadena to Azusa segment in 2015; both on time and under budget. The agency began work on the Foothill Gold Line from Glendora to Montclair in 2003. The Glendora to Montclair project was environmentally cleared in March 2013 under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and completed advanced conceptual engineering in 2016. When completed, the extension will add new light rail stations in the cities of Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne, Pomona, Claremont and Montclair.

The project is being built in Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties. The Los Angeles County portion will be funded mostly by Measure M, with residual funds from Measure R not used to complete the Pasadena to Azusa segment. San Bernardino County is responsible to fund their portion of the project to Montclair (in San Bernardino County). The State of California is also providing funding for the project through a TIRCP grant awarded in 2018.

Here is a video made by the Construction Authority showing the entire rail route from Azusa to Montclair:

7 replies

  1. Always felt the end of the Gold Line should have been Pomona, but I guess promises were made to Claremont and I guess Montclair as well. I just see that with tight budgets, to build a line from Pomona to Montclair that essentially duplicates Metrolink service is a luxury we can’t afford right now. Plus that segment is a complicated (thus expensive) segment with BNSF, Metrolink and Metro all sharing the ROW plus moving the Clarement station, another expense. Stopping at Pomona eliminates a lot of the duplicate work, plus at least 3 bridges (Garey, Towne and Indian Hill, but even saying that, 5 years seems like a very long time for this project to be built. A redesign of the Pomona Station for more streamlined transfers would still be needed, as right now, the 2 platforms are to be separated by the parking lot- not user friendly.

    While the San Gabriel Valley has been very unified on getting the Gold Line done (unlike some other areas of the county), you can make the argument there are other lines that are more urgent. Hopefully Metro can put the Pomona to Montclair segment on hold for a while and direct the funds to other lines we need done by the Olympics or just simply because they will have larger ridership and service areas that have a greater need. The SFV to LAX line should be #1 priority followed by the West Santa Ana Branch.

    Will be interesting to see the volume of riders who will actually transfer in both directions at Pomona- wonder how that can be measured or monitored to know whether it is a success or not?

    • Hey Mark —

      All good points. I think the big difference between the Gold Line and Metrolink comes down to frequency of service with the Gold Line running much more often from early morning to late night. As for your question, I think it will be interesting to see if a transfer to the Gold Line makes the Metrolink SB Line more appealing to those who don’t use it now — i.e. folks coming from the Inland Empire and headed to the 210 corridor cities (someone commuting from Rancho C to Pasadena, for example). The 210 is a pretty unpleasant commute and the Gold Line in the SGV is pretty quick. Your point on urgency is also well taken but when that question comes up I remind myself (and others!) that everyone in L.A. County is paying Metro’s four sales taxes and thus deserves a return for that investment. As for the time it will take to build the project, my understanding is the big hurdle to clear is moving the freight tracks — which are active from Duarte eastward.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • Building a redundant rail line to increase frequency of service to the Inland Empire while West L.A. commuters have little to no rail service makes no sense. The 405/10 freeway intersection is the busiest in the nation and still the priority is to increase frequency to the Inland Empire. How about adding a subway line down the 405 freeway? You know, where the biggest traffic jam in the nation happens Monday – Friday. Literally, not figuratively, the busiest intersection in the United States.

        L.A. Metro should conduct a formal study comparing itself to other international metro systems to establish an efficiency benchmark. With the average speed of the glorified Expo tram under 20 mph and its fascination with tram lines, L.A. metro is not efficient. It is an embarrassment.

    • Plus it’s cheaper to pay 1.75 to get on metro instead of 7.00 for metrolink. To increase ridership I would plan to have Metrolink end at Pomona and have light rail replace the route that metrolink uses from Pomona to Downtown LA and add more stops along the way. And maybe add a north/south route between them via the 605 fwy to long beach to hook up to the blue line. And ask orange county to have a route built to Anaheim

      • Metro Rail is not going to stay at $1.75 forever. This mentality really needs to change in LA county if it ever wants to see a rail system that can actually be respected. Metrolink’s $7 one way cost barely even covers 1/3 of what the true cost is to ride Metrolink one way, if that. I know currently there is no discussion to make any changes to the fare system, but when that day finally comes, I can’t wait to people’s reaction to those increases.

        Also, Orange County transit fares are currently at $2, so let’s say that theoretically OC agrees to expand Metro Rail into any OC city: That train fare won’t be $1.75 even then that’s for sure.