The Metro Gold Line Foothill Construction Authority announced this month that the Foothill Extension light rail project from Pasadena to Azusa is now more than 50 percent complete.
The project is on schedule to be completed before the September 2015 moving of the rail over to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (also known as Metro) for testing and pre-revenue service. Metro will then decide when the line will open for passengers, according to officials from the Construction Authority.
“With all of the contracts awarded and each moving forward on time and on budget, we do not anticipate any issues with meeting our schedule,” said Lisa Levy Buch, director of public affairs at the Construction Authority.
According to a newsletter issued by the Metro Gold Line, work on the rail began in 2010 and has accumulated nearly 600,000 hours on the 11.5-mile project.
The Construction Authority, which recently improved the railroad grade crossings on Pasadena, Dalton and Azusa avenues, will provide two stations: one in downtown Azusa and one near APU and Citrus College. The construction of the stations will be accompanied by the addition of 200 parking spaces, nine bridges and five street-level crossings. The college station will be just north of Foothill Boulevard and west of Citrus Avenue.
“Bringing the Gold Line east to Azusa will provide new opportunities for Azusa residents, students and workers to travel to and from home, school and work in a new and better way,” Buch said. “It will connect county residents to the city of Azusa and its resources (including APU and Citrus College), and connect Azusa residents with the county’s resources through its growing rail network.”
According to the Construction Authority, the city of Azusa is further along in completion in comparison with other cities and any construction that may have impacted streets and traffic should be finished.
“I am extremely impressed as I watch the Gold Line being built in Azusa,” Azusa Mayor Joseph Rocha told the Construction Authority. “Crews are nearly complete with the enormous undertaking of moving miles of freight track into its new position, while also building or rebuilding nine rail bridges and completing new street crossings across the city.”
Upon completion in 2015, the project will include a total of six new light rail stations and parking facilities in Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale and Azusa, 24 new and rebuilt bridges and 14 street-level crossings.
“This line provides a great option to driving on the I-210 Freeway,” Buch said. “More than 1.1 million boardings occur monthly on the Gold Line now. Once the new extension opens, that number is going to increase.”
According to a Feb. 20 Metro Gold Line announcement, Foothill Boulevard between Vernon and Orange avenues is expected to be closed for up to two weekends beginning Feb. 28.
After the first closure, starting March 3, the same streets will remain closed to eastbound traffic from 4 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily. Starting April 14, Metro Gold Line will limit westbound traffic on Foothill Boulevard again between Vernon and Orange avenues for six additional weeks from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Closures are expected to end in late May.
Detours to avoid the work sites will be in effect for both motorists and pedestrians. According to the Feb. 20 announcement, the businesses surrounding Foothill Boulevard will remain open despite the heavy construction and limited access.