Gold Line Foothill Extension

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LAMetroLogo.svg  Gold Line Foothill Extension   
Gold Line Map (Future) of the Los Angeles County Metro System.png
Map of the Gold Line, with the Foothill Extension along the top.
Type Light rail
System Los Angeles County Metro Rail
Status Under Construction
Locale Los Angeles
Termini Sierra Madre Villa
Azusa-Citrus (Phase 2A)
Montclair (Phase 2B)
Opening November 2016 (Phase 2A, expected)
Operator(s) Metro (LACMTA)
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)

The Gold Line Foothill Extension is a planned extension of the Metro Gold Line light rail corridor from its current terminus in Pasadena, California, east through the "Foothill Cities" of Los Angeles County. The plan is currently being implemented as two separate mass-transit projects, known as Phase 2A and Phase 2B, with termini in Azusa and Montclair, respectively. (A third project under consideration, Phase 2C, would extend the corridor further east to Ontario, California and to Ontario Airport.) The corridor extension will be a part of the Los Angeles County Metro Rail System.

When completed, the extension will be served by the Metro Gold Line. All three projects are being planned and implemented by the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority (or simply, the "Construction Authority").[1][2]

When the Regional Connector is built, the Foothill Extension would be served by the Blue Line.[citation needed]


The 23.9-mile (38.5 km) route of the Foothill Extension follows the old Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Second Division right-of-way (ROW) through the Foothill Cities. These cities are located in the foothills south of the San Gabriel Mountains, in the northern San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys. Beginning at the existing Metro Gold Line station in East Pasadena, the route extends roughly east from there, ending in Montclair. The route parallels several major roads and highways, such as I-210 (Foothill Freeway), Huntington Drive, and Foothill Boulevard.[3]

The entire route from Pasadena to Montclair is expected to take about 35 minutes to traverse. This translates to an average of 41 mph (66 km/h)), nearly double the speed of the original "Phase 1" route from Los Angeles to Pasadena.[3] The Construction Authority owns the right-of-way for this corridor.

Initial environmental review[edit]

The Foothill Extension project was originally conceived as "Phase 2" of the Metro Gold Line. (The route between Los Angeles and Pasadena is considered "Phase 1"). The Gold Line Construction Authority, which took over the Phase 1 project from Metro in 1999, is now coordinating the Phase 2 projects as well.

The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Foothill Extension was completed in April 2006. Shortly thereafter, the process to complete the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) study was begun.

The FEIR studied two Build Alternatives: (1) an "LRT Full Build" alternative which would complete the entire extension to Montclair, and (2) an "LRT Build To Azusa" alternative, which would extend only to Azusa. (In addition, the FEIR studied a "no build" alternative and a "Transportation Management System" alternative, as required by law.)

The FEIR calculated a "cost effectiveness index" (CEI) for each build alternative, compared to the "TSM" alternatives. The CEI for the "LRT Full Build" alternative is $23.69, and the CEI for the "LRT Build to Azusa" alternative is $21.09. Both of these CEIs are considered "medium" cost-effectiveness by the FTA.[4]

On February 28, 2007, the Construction Authority Board certified the Final EIR and decided to complete the "LRT Build to Azusa" alternative, now known as Phase 2A.[5] A second construction project, known as Phase 2B will bring the Gold Line to Montclair. Phase 2B will require a separate FEIR.[1]

In October 2009, the Metro Board unanimously voted to include the Foothill Extension in its long-range plan, and approved funding for the construction and operation of Phase 2A.

Phase 2A to Azusa[edit]

"Phase 2A" is the project to extend the Gold Line corridor from the Phase 1 terminus in Pasadena east to Azusa.

Route and facilities[edit]

The Phase 2A route begins at the existing Sierra Madre Villa station in East Pasadena, in the median of the I-210 freeway. From here, the route follows I-210 east to Arcadia, where just west of Santa Anita Avenue, the ROW exits the freeway and transitions to grade. The route then follows a southeastward route through Arcadia, across Huntington Drive, to Duarte Road. The ROW then continues east along the north side of Duarte Rd through Monrovia and Duarte. From Duarte, the ROW closely parallels I-210, along the freeway's south side, as it crosses I-605 and the San Gabriel River into Irwindale. Next, the ROW crosses back north over I-210 and Foothill Boulevard into Downtown Azusa. Finally, the ROW finishes its eastward journey through Azusa, terminating at Citrus Avenue, adjacent to Citrus College.[3]

The entire route is 11.3 miles (18.2 km) long and takes approximately 17.2 minutes to traverse.[3] The alignment will have six new stations:

As noted above, the Phase 2A will exit I-210 in Arcadia. In the past, a steel railroad bridge transitioned the ROW to grade. This bridge was removed by Caltrans, which deemed the structure unsafe following the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The Phase 2A project constructed a new, fully functioning light rail bridge, known as the "Iconic Freeway Structure" (IFS), as the bridge's replacement.[6] The bridge, designed by Minnesota artist Andrew Leicester, was unveiled in December 2012. Leicester's design was chosen from 17 others in a competitive process. The artist worked with L.A. design consultant AECOM as well as the bridge's builder, Skanska USA, on the final design and construction. The woven-basket look of the bridge's support columns emulate the famed woven baskets of the native Chumash people of the San Gabriel Valley while the underbelly of the bridge is supposed to evoke a Western diamondback rattlesnake.[7]

Phase 2A also includes the new Maintenance and Operations (M&O) Facility. The M&O facility will be used for servicing, cleaning, painting and storing light rail vehicles for Metro's growing fleet.[8] It will have a total storage capacity of 104 vehicles.[9][10] Originally planned for Irwindale, it will now be built on a 27-acre (11 ha) site in Monrovia.[11]


The original project budget for Phase 2A is $690 million. This includes not only construction, but also purchase of vehicles, financing, administrative costs, mitigation, and other costs.[10] The original construction budget is $485 million, which breaks down as follows:

Component Cost
Phase 2A alignment $320 million
M&O facility $130 million
Iconic Freeway Structure $25 million
Parking structures $10 million
Total: $485 million

In March 2011, the Foothill Authority requested an $45 million increase in total budget, to $735 million, to reflect updated cost estimates.[12]


In April 2012, the contractor Kiewit Parsons was issued a Full Notice To Proceed (NTP), authorizing it to work on all aspects of the project. This followed completion of two requirements: BNSF's abandonment of the right-of-way, and full control of over 50% of the land for the M&O facility. Construction began in mid-2012 with the replacement of the railroad bridge over the Foothill Freeway in Arcadia. The line is projected to be operational by November 2016.[13]

Supplemental EIR[edit]

A Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) was prepared by the Construction Authority and published on 23 September 2010.[14][15] The main purpose of the SEIR was to study relocation of the Maintenance and Operations (M&O) Facility from Irwindale to Monrovia. In addition, the SEIR study looked at other updates to the project, including new/relocated parking structures and bridges, as well as a redesigned crossing at Mountain Avenue.[16] The SEIR was available for public review and comment through 9 December 2010. The Authority Board certified the SEIR on 18 January 2011.[11]

Preconstruction activities[edit]

In March 2010, Metro and the Construction Authority signed Master Cooperative and Funding Agreements for Phase 2A. These documents spell out the mechanisms for transfer of funds from Metro to the Construction Authority.[17] The terms of cooperation and funding were the subject of intense negotiation for several months.[8][18]

Per the agreements, the Construction Authority will not receive construction funds until the following two conditions are met: that the Construction Authority has completed negotiations with BNSF over use of the right-of-way (ROW), and that the Construction Authority has completed the SEIR and purchase at least half of the property to be used for the M&O facility.[17][19][20] The agreements also specify that Metro will operate service over the line when it is completed.[21]

In April 2011, the Construction Authority completed its agreement with BNSF. BNSF, which currently uses part of the right-of-way (ROW) for light freight traffic, will relocate its freight service, either within the ROW (on a third track) or to a different ROW.[22]

In July 2011, the Authority completed the second requirement, reaching agreement with the City of Monrovia for purchase of a city-owned site for the M&O facility. In addition, the Authority selected a joint venture of Kiewit Corporation and Parsons Corporation as the design build contractor.[23]

In December 2011, the final BNSF train to traverse track west of Irwindale was operated. This move was the annual City of Hope Christmas train sponsored by BNSF. The tracks are now spiked with a flag and bumper at the San Gabriel River bridge and are now pending removal. Thus the entire section of track between the river bridge and end-of-track in Arcadia is now officially out of service. It is not known if BNSF will resume their annual Christmas trains upon completion of the Gold Line. Given that this is a once a year operation, the construction of an additional mile or two of track for this purpose would probably not be considered practical or cost effective. Thus, the future of the Christmas trains appears to be in doubt.


A ceremonial groundbreaking for Phase 2A took place on 26 June 2010.[24] The project will be completed under two design-build contracts: one for the Iconic Freeway Structure (IFS), and another for the rest of the alignment.

In July 2010, the Authority Board awarded the IFS contract to AECOM for design and Skanska USA for construction. Construction of the IFS began in early 2011.[25]

In August 2010, the Construction Authority announced a Request For Proposals (RFP) for the main alignment design-build contract. Three bids were submitted to the Construction Authority in January 2011: a winner was chosen in April 2011.[26][27][28]

Phase 2A construction is scheduled to begin in late 2012, with revenue service planned to begin in July 2015.[11][29]

In May 2012, former ATSF/BNSF track was being removed, beginning in Arcadia at the former end of track at the future Arcadia station site and is now progressing eastward.

During March & April 2013, the concrete supports for the Colorado St. Bridge w. of Santa Anita Av. was being constructed, and grading of the ROW from the 210 bridge done in preparation for the bridge transition over Santa Anita Av.

During April 2013, track ROW was being graded for the open yard in Monrovia near Duarte Rd., California Av. and Evergreen Av. s. of the 210 freeway in preparation for track to be laid in the yard.

Phase 2B to Montclair[edit]

"Phase 2B" is the project to extend the Gold Line corridor from the Phase 2A terminus in Azusa east to Montclair.

Proposed Route[edit]

Phase 2B is 12.6 miles (20.3 km) long and will take approximately 17.9 minutes to traverse.[3] The alignment will have six new stations:

and the extension expects 17,800 riders by 2035.[citation needed]


The Board has directed its staff to seek funding for Phase 2B to Montclair, in the hopes of completion by 2017-2019. Since May 2010, staff has been working with contractor Parsons Brinckerhoff on a final environmental impact report (FEIR) for the project. This FEIR was completed in December 2011.[19][20]

Phase 2C to Ontario[edit]

"Phase 2C" refers to a proposal under consideration to further extend the Gold Line corridor from the Phase 2B terminus in Montclair east to LA/Ontario International Airport. The city of Ontario, in San Bernardino County, has joined the group of cities supporting the Foothill Extension in general, and the proposed Phase 2C project in particular.[30]

In 2008, the Foothill Authority commissioned a study to determine the feasibility of the extension to Ontario airport. The study found the extension would be feasible, and provided several alignment alternatives. The extension would extend the Gold Line by between 7 miles (11 km) and 15 miles (24 km), and add up to four new stations, depending on the chosen alignment.[31]

If the extension to Ontario were built, the resulting Gold Line (including the approved Foothill Extensions) would be at least 51 miles (82 km) in length, making it the longest light rail line in the United States.


  1. ^ a b Gold Line Foothill Construction Authority. "Official project website.". Retrieved 21 September 2010. 
  2. ^ Metro (LACMTA). "Metro project page.". Retrieved 21 September 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Gold Line Foothill Construction Authority. "Foothill Project FEIR Chapter 2 - Alternatives". Retrieved 21 September 2010. 
  4. ^ Gold Line Foothill Construction Authority. "Foothill Project FEIR Chapter 5 - Financial Analysis". Retrieved 21 September 2010. 
  5. ^ Gold Line Foothill Construction Authority (28 February 2007). "Board resolution to certify FEIR.". Retrieved 21 September 2010. 
  6. ^ Gold Line Foothill Construction Authority (December 2009). "Foothill Extension News". Retrieved 21 September 2010. 
  7. ^ David Ng (December 12, 2012), Artist to unveil Metro Gold Line bridge design in Arcadia Los Angeles Times.
  8. ^ a b Ed Reyes, L.A. City Council (16 December 2009). "Letter to Ara Najarian, Chair of Metro Board". Retrieved 21 September 2010. 
  9. ^ Gold Line Foothill Construction Authority (26 May 2010). "Approval of Foothill Extension Financial Plan Revision 3". Retrieved 21 September 2010. 
  10. ^ a b "Project Overview and Status, presentation to the Design-Build Institute of America". 10 March 2010. Retrieved 21 September 2010. 
  11. ^ a b c "Press Release, Light Rail Maintenance Facility Approved". 19 January 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Gold Line Foothill Construction Authority (23 September 2010). "Supplemental EIR (SEIR) for Phase 2A, Main Index". Retrieved 23 September 2010. 
  15. ^ Gold Line Foothill Construction Authority (14 May 2010). "SEIR Notice Of Preparation". Retrieved 21 September 2010. 
  16. ^ Gold Line Foothill Construction Authority (23 September 2010). "Supplemental EIR (SEIR) for Phase 2A, Executive Summary". Retrieved 23 September 2010. 
  17. ^ a b Metro (LACMTA) (17 March 2010). "Funding and Master Cooperative Agreement Term Sheets For The Design And Construction Of The Gold Line Foothill Extension". Retrieved 21 September 2010. 
  18. ^ Keith Hanks, Chair of Gold Line Construction Authority Board (3 December 2009). "Letter to Ara Najarian, Chair of Metro Board". Retrieved 21 September 2010. 
  19. ^ a b "Bridge work begins over 210". Arcadia's Best. 3 September 2010. Retrieved 21 September 2010. 
  20. ^ a b Gold Line Foothill Construction Authority. "Board Minutes, September 2010". Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  21. ^ Gold Line Foothill Construction Authority. "Foothill Extension Quick Facts". Retrieved 21 September 2010. 
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Metro Gold Line Breaks Ground". KABC-TV. 26 June 2010. Retrieved 21 September 2010. 
  25. ^ "Gold Line bridge work set". Arcadia's Best. 5 August 2010. Retrieved 21 September 2010. 
  26. ^ "Gold Line opens bidding on $450 million extension phase, tests new public-private partnership model". San Gabriel Valley Tribune. 31 August 2010. Retrieved 21 September 2010. 
  27. ^ "It's Out! Authority Issues Request For Proposals for Pasadena to Azusa Extension". I Will Ride (blog). Retrieved 21 September 2010. 
  28. ^ "Proposals are in!". I Will Ride (blog). Retrieved 31 January 2011. 
  29. ^ Gold Line Foothill Construction Authority (22 April 2011). "Board Reports, April 2011". Retrieved 22 April 2011. 
  30. ^ "A Resolution Supporting The Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Project". 3 March 2009. Retrieved 21 September 2010. 
  31. ^ "Foothill Authority Website, Phase 2C, Montclair to Ontario". 4 January 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2011. 

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