Arcadia residents and drivers on the 210 freeway between Santa Anita and Baldwin Avenues will soon see engineers working in the area where the new “Iconic Freeway Structure” (bridge overpass) is to be built for the Gold Line Foothill Extension.
The entire $400 million “Phase 2A” project scheduled to open in 2014 — the first L.A. County Measure R rail project to break ground — was recently ranked by the Los Angeles Business Journal as the fifth biggest in the region underway as of Aug. 1, based on total construction cost.
Construction activity on the freeway overpass bridge (there will also be bridges in Arcadia over Colorado Blvd. and Santa Anita Avenue) will follow shortly thereafter early next year, according to Foothill Extension Construction Authority CEO Habib F. Balian. The bridge will be in the exact same spot the previous bridge was before trains stopped running there in the 1990s and it was removed because it did not meet earthquake safety requirements.
The Authority will also soon release a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Report for the Maintenance and Operations Facility. Environmental clearance of the maintenance facility site is a requirement of our funding transfer agreement, and must be completed before Metro releases significant funding to the Authority for the Phase 2A Alignment work (Sierra Madre Villa Station to Asuza/Glendora border).
At the same time, Phase 2B (Glendora to Montclair) is currently undergoing final environmental review and the Alternatives Analysis for Phase 2C (Ontario Airport Extension) will likely begin later this year. Both are critical steps in the federal funding process, Balian says.
Last week the Authority board approved issuance of the Request for Proposals (RFP) to the three short-listed teams vying for the $400+ million alignment contract. Qualifying firms include: (1) Foothill Transit Constructors (Kiewit Pacific Co. and Parsons Transportation Group Inc.); (2) Shimmick Construction Company/URS Corporation; and (3) Skanska USA Civil West California District/Balfour Beatty Rail, Inc.
Proposals will be due January 27, 2011, and an award is anticipated in April 2011. That is when the bulk of the 7,000 jobs and nearly $1 billion of economic output anticipated by project’s construction will start being realized.
But there remain multiple hurdles to clear, any one of which could further delay or even prevent the construction of the Extension, including nothing more important than gaining permission from track owners Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway to share use of the tracks east of Arcadia with Metro. Negotiations are ongoing.
– By Scott Hettrick