LA Metro’s Foothill Gold Line Project Marks MilestoneWritten by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor, Railway Age
All reconstruction work requiring long-term street closures is now finished for the 21 at-grade crossings along Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (LA Metro) Foothill Gold Line light rail project. This is a milestone for the 9.1-mile, four-station line from Glendora to Pomana, Calif., which is more than two-thirds’ complete, the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority reported March 29.
Since major construction began in July 2020, each of the project’s grade crossings has undergone one or more long-term closures to allow crews time to relocate and protect underground utilities; install new safety equipment; relocate the freight rail track that initially sat in the middle of the now-shared rail corridor; install new light rail tracks; and build new medians, sidewalks, curbs/gutters and roadway.
Grade crossings with new light rail bridges underwent similar reconstruction activities underground and above, but only included installation of the relocated freight track at-grade. The light rail tracks will be built on top of the newly finished bridge structures that are grade-separated at these locations for safety, as required by the California Public Utilities Commission, according to the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority, which was created in 1998 by the California State Legislature to plan, design and build the Metro Gold Line (currently referred to as the L Line) light rail system from Union Station to Montclair.
The Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority completed the first segment from Union Station to Pasadena in 2003 and the Pasadena to Azusa segment in 2015. It began work in 2003 on the Glendora to Montclair segment, which is being built in phases due to funding constraints.
The project segment from Glendora to Pomona reached the half-way point last summer and is on schedule to be completed in 2025, according to the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority. All major construction activities needed for the project are expected to wrap up in 2023, with track installation finished in June. System testing is anticipated to start by the end of this year. This segment is funded primarily by Los Angeles County’s Measure M, along with residual funds from Measure R not used to complete the Pasadena to Azusa segment. The state of California has also provided a greenhouse gas reduction grant to support the project.
The segment from Pomona to Montclair, including the Claremont and Montclair stations, is currently not funded, according to the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority.
“With the grade crossing reconstruction work behind us, the most impactful activities for the community, and the most risky activities for an on-time project delivery, are behind us,” Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority Board Chairman and Claremont Mayor Ed Reece said. “Thanks to everyone’s hard work, the project remains on budget and on schedule for substantial completion in early-January 2025.”
“Reaching this milestone took extensive planning and expertise by the Construction Authority team and KPJV, our contractor, to coordinate and schedule the hundreds of activities needed at each crossing so they would be completed as efficiently as possible,” Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority CEO Habib F. Balian said. “Each crossing had to undergo substantial reconstruction, requiring weeks, and in some cases months, of full closures. We thank the corridor cities for their support during this impactful work, as well as the community for their patience and understanding.”