Foothill Gold Line Montclair Extension Early Construction Will Start This Year

The 12.3-mile Glendora to Montclair extension of the Foothill Gold Line is expected to open 2025-2026. Image via Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority
The 12.3-mile Glendora to Montclair extension of the Foothill Gold Line is expected to open 2025-2026. Image via Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority

Earlier this week the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority hosted an industry workshop event to kick off the bidding process for the first small phase of construction to extend the Gold Line to Montclair. Initial utility relocation construction is expected to get underway later this year. The initial ~$3 million contract is funded using residual Measure R funds.

The Construction Authority is an independent Joint Powers Authority that works closely with Metro to build the Gold Line, which Metro then operates and maintains.

The Foothill Gold Line extension from Glendora to Montclair will be a $1.37 billion 12.3-mile extension east of the Gold Line’s current terminus in Azusa. It will include six new stations, one each in the cities of Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne, Pomona, Claremont, and Montclair.

The new extension will end at the Montclair Transit Center which currently serves Metrolink trains, and buses operated by Foothill Transit, Omnitrans, and Riverside Transit Authority. The Montclair site has an existing 1,600 space parking lot. Other stations will include new parking structures: Glendora – 420 spaces, San Dimas – 450 spaces, La Verne – 600 spaces, Pomona – 850 spaces, and Claremont – 1,260 spaces. The 3,580 total new parking spaces, at an estimated cost of $27,000 per parking structure space (a figure from parking expert Don Shoup), will cost $97 million – roughly seven percent of the overall project.

The Glendora to Montclair extension received its environmental clearance in 2013. The vast majority of the funds for the Gold Line extension are included in the L.A. County Measure M sales tax expenditure plan, approved by voters in November 2016.

The construction authority is expecting to break ground on the Montclair extension this October, when utility relocation work gets underway. The line is anticipated to open to the public in late 2025 or early 2026.

Cost breakdown between L.A. and San Bernardino Counties. Image via Construction Authority
Cost breakdown between L.A. and San Bernardino Counties. Image via Construction Authority

One politically difficult aspect of the extension is that it extends into Montclair, a city located in San Bernardino County. Measure M funding is for use only in L.A. County, so the Construction Authority is working with San Bernardino County to fund their small portion of the project. Less than a mile of the project is outside L.A. County, so the estimated cost breakdown would be: $1.304 billion for L.A. County, and $70 million for San Bernardino County. San Bernardino funds are expected to come from Measure I, a county sales tax approved in 1989 and extended in 2004.

One technically difficult aspect of the extension is that it will share a 100-foot wide right-of-way with other train traffic. The Gold Line will run on former Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe (ATSF) rail right-of-way which currently serves BNSF freight trains, which run roughly once a day. From Pomona east to Montclair, the rail is also used by Metrolink commuter trains. In order to give the Gold Line its own two separate tracks, the project includes relocating the existing freight/Metrolink tracks. This includes relocating the Claremont Metrolink station platform. None of this is technically infeasible, but relocating train tracks (while maintaining service) adds time and cost.

Timeline for the Glendora to Montclair extension of the Foothill Gold Line. Image via Construction Authority (updated 6/5)
Timeline for the Glendora to Montclair extension of the Foothill Gold Line. Image via Construction Authority (updated 6/5)

At this week’s workshop, the construction authority presented the extension’s expected workplan. Work will proceed in two design/build contracts:

  • “DB1” is an estimated $3 million utility relocation contract. The DB1 contract is expected to be awarded in September 2017, with work continuing through 2020.
  • “DB2” is an estimated $698 million contract that includes everything else: final engineering, and two major construction phases. The first phase includes relocating freight/Metrolink tracks. The second phase is building the Gold Line light rail, including rails, overhead catenary power, stations, parking, bridges, grade crossings, etc. The DB2 contract is expected to be awarded in late 2018. Freight/Metrolink rail relocation is anticipated from 2020 through 2022. Light rail construction is expected from 2021 through 2025.

For more on the next steps for the Foothill Gold Line, listen to this week’s SGV Connect podcast featuring Construction Authority CEO Habib Balian. Visit the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority website for additional details, including station maps and renderings.

Streetsblog L.A.’s San Gabriel Valley coverage is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit Foothill Transit. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

  • Richard

    Wonder what this will do to the San Bernardino line’s ridership? A few people might be siphoned off, but a whole host of new trips become possible.

  • mittim80

    This is a case of logic and priorities being sacrificed at the altar of political expediency. Electrifying and filling in the SB line and improving metrolink connections would have been a much better use of nearly the same amount of money, and would have benefited more people too, but instead valuable measure M funds were siphoned off for one of the most pointlessly redundant transit lines in history while LA county’s densest transit-starved regions go without- or have to wait their turn. Not to mention the insane logistics of running frequent service between long beach and montclair, unless Metro wises up for a brief moment and breaks up Sierra Madre Villa-Montclair into a separate line or something of that nature

  • With both I-10 and I-210 packed at peak hours, I’d hardly call the Gold Line “redundant”, especially since they actually don’t serve the same places except at LAUS.

  • It’ll likely take off a couple of people, but that might finally prod them into action to reinstate the express trains which would then get to LAUS in half an hour from Montclair vs. nearly two hours on Gold Line.

  • mittim80

    It most certainly is redundant, as in a **perfect** world, foothill communities lying north of Metrolink’s SB line could simply plug into it via frequent north-south bus lines. That’s just grid networks in action.

  • richard_schumacher

    On to Cucamonga!

  • calwatch

    SANBAG through the SCAG intercounty connections study has been studying “hybrid rail” between Montclair and either ONT or San Bernardino that would help fill in the gaps. The Metrolink down the middle of the 10 freeway between Cal State and El Monte, and through Covina is permanently right of way constrained to prohibit double track. I could see a Gold Line connecting to a hybrid rail continuing onto San Bernardino (similar to the A-Train in Denton County, Texas), while the Metrolink continues to be a peak hour commuter express-type service.

    It should be noted that the corridor along Badillo/Ramona between El Monte Station and San Dimas is currently being studied for electrified BRT under the Mid Valley Transportation Corridor. So you have the Gold Line operating one corridor and the Mid Valley BRT, connecting to the Silver Line at El Monte, with another corridor serving average trips of 3-7 miles, while Metrolink serves your 30-60 mile commuter. http://sustain.scag.ca.gov/Documents/SGV-Envisioning%20the%20Mid-Valley%20Transportation%20Corridor%20Plan%20-%20Small.pdf Of course, you’re going to complain that competes with Metrolink too, when the Mid Valley BRT will provide service to intersections miles from a Metrolink station, even though they are less than a mile apart.

  • mittim80

    The right of way constraints on the 10 and in Covina don’t preclude more frequent service. As you know there’s a bypass track east of Cal State LA that could, with proper coordination, allow frequencies as low as 20 minutes. As for Covina, for stretches that are *absolutely* too narrow, there’s plenty room for bypass tracks here and there, as needed. Enhancing SB to the point of allowing 20-minute service is far from an insurmountable engineering conundrum. Also the line should be infilled so that no sufficiently populated area or arterial within a mile of the line is “miles” as you put it, from a metrolink station.

    I don’t care about other services “competing” with Metrolink as if this were some corporate market share battle. I just want LA to wring the most out of its existing infrastructure before going all in and constructing expensive forms of transportation like light rail- and to use the saved money in higher priority areas.

  • calwatch

    The Mid Valley BRT had stations at Sunset/Irwindale, Azusa, Grand, and Glendora, which are all bus transfer points (and also served by the Gold Line). Adding six or seven infill stations on Metrolink from Baldwin Park to Pomona would be a nonstarter and would lead to a downgrade of service like a long distance Chicago Metra line, even if Metrolink were electrified. At a minimum to provide equivalent connectivity to Mid Valley BRT/Gold Line, the Metrolink stations you would add from Baldwin Park eastward would be at Sunset, Azusa, Grand Avenue, Charter Oak, San Dimas, and La Verne. Obviously, I don’t see that happening, which is why the Gold Line is still necessary for the SGV.

    The Gold Line was originally scoped for a RegioSprinter service, similar to Sprinter in north San Diego County, and that level of service (30 min frequency with stops every 1-2 miles) would have been appropriate for the current Gold Line alignment east of Downtown Pasadena, although it would have forced a transfer at Lake Station. But since the Gold Line is going to be conventional MTA light rail all the way to Claremont per voter approved Measure R, let’s build it and build the Mid Valley BRT to complement it, rather than send more money to Metrolink.

  • Catguy77

    I totally agree with mittim80 and further question why L.A. county transit funds are being used to extend service across the San Bernardino County line. This whole project stinks of special influence.

  • onlinenetizen

    they should double track the san bernardino line first prior to extending to montclair. san bernardino line is too slow. double tracking would allow more trains on a tighter schedule with minimal delay

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