Foothill Gold Line Light Rail Project Completes All Grade Crossing Reconstruction Work Requiring Long Term Street Closures – A Major Milestone

Photo: Garey Ave. grade crossing in Pomona reopen following long-term reconstruction. March 27, 2023.

MONROVIA, Calif. – This week, the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority (Construction Authority) announced that all grade crossing reconstruction work requiring long-term street closures for the project’s 21 at-grade (street level) crossings from Glendora to Pomona has now been completed. This grade crossing milestone is a major achievement for the 9.1-mile, four-station Foothill Gold Line light rail project, which is more than two-thirds complete overall with construction.

Since major construction began in July 2020, each of the project’s grade crossings has undergone one or more long-term closure to allow crews time to relocate and protect underground utilities, install new safety equipment, relocate the freight 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. At the grade crossings with new light rail bridges, each 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).

“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,” stated Foothill Gold Line Board Chairman, Claremont Mayor Ed Reece. “Thanks to everyone’s hard work, the project remains on budget and on schedule for substantial completion in early-January 2025.”

Each grade crossing reconstruction was a significant undertaking, beginning with months of careful planning, design and coordination to ensure the multiple entities involved were ready to go to work once the street was closed; often requiring multiple crews working alongside each other or scheduled one right after the other to reduce the closure timeline as much as possible. Additionally, each street closure also required extensive outreach to notify affected neighbors and area stakeholders. Before each street closure, a specific outreach plan was developed to ensure all affected stakeholders would be aware of the upcoming closure well in advance, so they could make alternative plans. Outreach was conducted door-to-door, via email, on social media, through traditional media, and with navigational apps like Waze and Google Maps.

“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,” stated Construction Authority CEO, Habib F. Balian. “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.”

Overall, the Glendora to Pomona project is now 68% complete. The Construction Authority and KPJV anticipate completing the majority of all major construction activities needed for the project in 2023; with testing of the system to start by the end of the year. In June, the agency expects to finish the light rail track installation and will hold a milestone ceremony to celebrate that achievement on June 24, 2023, in the city of La Verne. (Details to be released soon).

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