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Foothill Extension

Foothill Gold Line Montclair Extension Early Construction Will Start This Year

1:50 PM PDT on June 2, 2017

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.”

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