The Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority on December 2 held a ceremonial ground breaking on the $1.5-billion Foothill Gold Line light rail extension from Glendora to Montclair. The event was held at the project's western terminus in the city of Glendora, about 28 miles east of Los Angeles. 

The 12.3-mile extension will add six new stations to the Metro Gold Line system in the cities of Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne, Pomona, Claremont and Montclair. The Construction Authority, the entity in charge of building the rail system, says the ground breaking represents the first Measure M-funded rail project to move forward to construction.

The project is being funded by Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties. The portion of the project within LA County (Glendora to Claremont) is being mostly funded by Metro’s Measure M half-cent sales tax that was approved by voters in November 2016 and went into effect on July 1, 2017, as well as residual Measure R funds from the Pasadena to Azusa segment that was completed under budget. The portion from Claremont to Montclair is being funded by San Bernardino County.

Last month the Construction Authority issued the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the Alignment Design-Build Project for this segment of the Gold Line. The RFQ announcement kicked-off a year-long process to hire the design-build team that will build the extension.

The RFQ is the first of a two-step, competitive process, that will result in a short-list of the "most qualified" teams to compete for the work. The RFQ requires interested teams and/or firms to detail their qualifications to complete all elements of the light rail project. This includes detailing their experience in completing similar projects, credentials of their key personnel, a staffing plan and their expected main subcontractors. The interested parties must also demonstrate financial and legal qualifications to conduct the work.

“We have developed a procurement process that will provide the Authority the best contractor for the best price; but it starts by identifying the most qualified teams and focusing our search on those teams,” said Construction Authority CEO, Habib F. Balian in a recent news release.

As with the Pasadena to Azusa segment - the previous segment of the Gold Line project - the extension from Glendora to Montclair is planned to be built along the former Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe (ATSF) right-of-way, which was purchased by Metro in the early 1990s for the project.

Statements of Qualifications in response to the RFQ are due in January 2018. The Construction Authority says the responses will be evaluated by a committee of experts who will recommend the short-list of the most qualified and experienced teams to the Construction Authority board of directors. Only those teams short-listed through the RFQ process will receive the Request for Proposals (RFP), to be released in Spring 2018. The RFP will require the short-listed teams to review the engineering and planning for the project and provide their proposals to complete the project.

“We know that there are many qualified teams that could complete this project,” said Balian in the release. “This initial step is critical, as it allows us to narrow the field to those that are most qualified, so we can feel very confident moving into the next step.”

In September, the Construction Authority board of directors voted to award a $2.6-million Utility Relocation design-bid-build contract to Long Beach, CA-based W.A. Rasic Construction Company, Inc. for utility relocation work. This was the first of two contacts to be awarded for the project.

Over the next three years, W.A. Rasic Construction will protect and relocate strategic utilities throughout the alignment; each identified to benefit the future work of the main alignment design-build contractor. The Construction Authority received five bids for the Utility Relocation design-bid-build contract and W.A. Rasic was the lowest price, responsive bidder. 

Once the alignment design-build contract is awarded in late 2018, officials say that major construction should begin in 2020 and complete in 2026.  The first year of the project will be used to relocate utilities, conduct other pre-construction activities, and to hire a design-build contractor.

The Gold Line's previous rail project was the 11.5-mile, six-station Pasadena to Azusa segment, which broke ground in 2010 and began passenger service in March, 2016.