By Amanda Lee and Aaron Wang
This article was updated on June 16 at 11:30 a.m. to add Walnut Avenue construction to begin on June 18.
On Wednesday, the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority hosted a virtual community meeting to provide updates on the status of construction across San Gabriel Valley’s Foothill Gold Line project.
Construction Authority Chief Executive Officer Habib Balian, Chief Communication Officer Lisa Levy Buch and Chief Project Officer Chris Burner were available to provide information and answer questions from members of the community. Jeff Rowland represented Kiewit-Parsons, the company contracted by the Construction Authority to perform the Gold Line construction.
Here are some of the key takeaways we learned.
San Dimas Gold Line construction updates
- Bonita/Cataract bridge: Construction is underway and in the first of four phases. Eucla Avenue will be closed until June 15. Construction officials are creating a new lane to the right of eastbound Bonita, which will allow traffic on Bonita to remain open when bridge construction moves into the second phase, scheduled to begin in July. The second phase will last about two months, ending around mid-September.
- The freight line between Irwindale and Pomona will resume in June. This is a potential safety issue because drivers may have been accustomed to driving right through the freight tracks during the closure.
- Bonita/Cataract intersection: North Cataract Avenue will be closed for 11 months beginning in September 2021 – longer than originally planned. South Cataract Avenue will remain accessible only via eastbound Bonita Avenue during construction. Starting in June 2022, the entire intersection will be closed for two months. (Plans originally called for a six-month closure).
- Walnut Avenue grade crossing: Construction on the Walnut grade crossing is scheduled to begin on June 18, which will require extended full street closures.
- San Dimas Station: Construction on the San Dimas Station, which will be located between San Dimas Avenue and Walnut Street behind the CVS shopping plaza, will begin sometime in early 2022.
- Traffic disruptions: The Construction Authority said that they will give a minimum of two weeks’ notice ahead of time to notify drivers and pedestrians about future road closures.
Foothill Gold Line project updates: 33% completed, 3 months ahead of schedule
- Overall, the project is 33% complete and on pace to finish three months earlier than expected. Much of the progress, Rowland noted, has been made on the design (90% completion), while construction is in its earlier stages.
- Previous segments of the Foothill Gold Line (LA to Pasadena and Pasadena to Azusa) were also completed ahead of schedule and under budget.
How will the Foothill Gold Line construction and stations affect safety and quality of life?
Safety, crime and quality of life issues are among the concerns that San Dimas residents have shared about the Foothill Gold Line station (30% of respondents to our Instagram polls said these were topics of interest). These issues were raised again during the Q&A session of the community meeting.
- Lighting and security around the Gold Line stations, tracks and parking lots: The Construction Authority is responsible for installing the lighting while LA Metro is responsible for maintaining and monitoring all parking lots and stations when they begin to open in 2025. Burner said lighting will be maximized in parking areas. He also noted that CCTV cameras will be installed for monitoring parking lots and emergency phones will be installed.
- Displaced trees: Several questions focused on the displacement of trees as a result of the construction, said Levy Buch. Trees that are removed are identified and quantified by size and species and are slated for replacement. They will not be replanted in the original location because the rail right-of-way needs to be clear of vegetation for safety and maintenance reasons. In most cases, funding will be given to the city, and the city will manage the replacement of the trees.
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