The following article appeared in the Pasadena Star-News on February 15, 2014.
Gold Line extension to Azusa is halfway complete – Pasadena Star-News
By Sarah Favot
February 15, 2014
MONROVIA >> The public transportation project involving an 11.5-mile stretch of light rail from Pasadena to Azusa that will connect the Foothill cities to downtown Los Angeles is halfway complete, the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority announced this week.
“We still have a significant way to go to substantial completion, but the progress already made provides the confidence that we will be able to meet our schedule and deliver this regionally significant project on time and on budget,” said Construction Authority CEO Habib F. Balian in a statement.
Ground broke on the project in June 2010 and the contractors are scheduled to turn over the completed project by September 2015 to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Metro will then test the system and decide when it is ready for passengers to board.
When it is completed, the project will include six new light rail stations with parking facilities in Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale and Azusa, 24 new and rebuilt bridges, 14 at-grade street crossings and a $265 million “Operations Campus” that can store 84 light rail cars.
Funded by ballot Measure R, a levy approved by voters in 2008, the Pasadena to Azusa extension is slated to cost $751 million.
The largest contract for the project was awarded to Foothill Transit Constructors for $486 million.
About 250 workers are employed on the project, which will peak at 325, according to Jeff Rowland, community relations manager for FTC. Contractors have put in about 500,000 work hours.
Construction around the at-grade street crossings have caused some headaches in the foothill communities, as there have been intersections that have closed for weeks at a time.
In Arcadia, the intersection and sidewalk at First Avenue and Santa Clara Street has been closed since September. In the heart of downtown, there are several businesses near the closure.
Rowland said FTC tries to keep pedestrian access whenever it’s possible and flood the area with signs that remind residents businesses are open amidst construction.
“(The businesses) are already there and so as opposed to something that will get built up around it, it’s there waiting for us to get done,” said Rowland. “They don’t love it at the moment.”
Monrovia officials are eager to bring the Gold Line into an undeveloped area at Myrtle Avenue and Duarte Road.
A $25 million public improvement project is in the works for Station Square, an 80-acre area that will include a community park, a promenade in front of the old depot and transit plaza.
“These three components will all be public space with the idea of creating synergy and energy to create viable public space that will attract people to the Monrovia station,” said Steve Sizemore, the city’s director of community development.
As part of an agreement negotiated with the Construction Authority for the purchase of city property where the maintenance and operations yard will sit, Monrovia will receive $15.7 million for these public improvements from the Construction Authority.
The 24-acre Operations Campus will sit across Myrtle Avenue from Station Square.
It will be one of the biggest maintenance and operations yards in the Metro system. There will be stations for power washing, maintenance and painting vehicles.
The Operations Campus is slated to be turned over to Metro by March 2015, according to the Construction Authority.
The platforms are constructed and the canopy structures are installed for the station in Duarte, across Duarte Road from City of Hope.
Azusa will have two stations: one downtown and another at Citrus College.
The freight track between San Gabriel Avenue in Azusa and the Glendora city border has been fully realigned to its new position south of the future light rail tracks. Installation is now starting on the light rail tracks.
At halfway through the project, 15 bridges, eight at-grade street crossings, 40 percent of the Operations Campus and 70 percent of the utility work have been completed, according to the Construction Authority.
Arcadia Mayor Mickey Segal praised the rail bridges in the city.
“The Construction Authority and their contractor have done an excellent job making sure that the light rail project fits aesthetically into our city so well that I believe it is going to feel like the train never left Arcadia,” Segal said in a statement.