Metro & Caltrans Under-Construction 71 Freeway Widening Project Hitting Cost/Schedule Overrun Snags

Rail bridge on segment 2 of Metro/Caltrans SR-71 widening project. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Rail bridge on segment 2 of Metro/Caltrans SR-71 widening project. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

In July, Metro and Caltrans broke ground on their project to widen about 3.5 miles of the 71 Freeway through Pomona. The existing 4-lane State Route 71 will be widened to 8-lanes.

71 Freeway project description page - via Metro Highway Program presentation
71 Freeway project description page – via Metro Highway Program presentation

Construction is broken into two segments.

The first segment, under construction now, is from Rio Rancho Road to Mission Boulevard. Metro and Caltrans have already evicted about two dozen families from their homes in this area, and are currently pressing for a sole remaining household to relocate. This nearly two-mile segment is costing $174 million and is expected to be completed in 2024.

At this month’s Measure M Independent Taxpayer Oversight Committee Meeting (presentation, listen to SR-71 item starting at minute 55:10), Metro staff reported that Segment 1 construction, which started July 17, is already “three to six months behind schedule” due to “overhead power line conflict.”

Yes, you read that right: less than two months into construction, this segment is three to six months behind schedule.

The second segment runs from Mission Boulevard about 1.5-miles north to the 10 Freeway. This portion does not appear to involve the displacement of any additional homes, but is made somewhat difficult in that it involves replacing two historic railroad bridges.

Segment 2 was anticipated to cost $40 million and to start construction in Summer 2023. According to the Measure M presentation, “everything is going well” but “Caltrans has identified significant cost increases and potential schedule delays,” resulting in a “funding shortfall of up to $61M for the Construction Phase.” Metro, Caltrans, and The San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments are working to identify funding to complete the project.

Yes, you read that right: a $61 million shortfall on a $40 million project.

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