Foothill Gold Line Program

Miles of Management Success: Hill’s Management of the Foothill Gold Line Program

Since 2009, Hill has managed and supported the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority’s (Authority) approximately $3.0 billion, 24 mile extension of the Foothill Gold Line light rail from Pasadena in Los Angeles County to Montclair in the neighboring San Bernardino County. The program is divided into two phases, Phase 2A and 2B, and provides a sustainable and efficient transit link between Los Angeles and its northeastern suburbs.

The first phase of the program was an 11.5 mile segment connecting Sierra Madre Villa Station in Pasadena to Azusa and encompassed 3 design-build contracts involving bridges, stations, maintenance and operations facilities, trackwork, at-grade crossings, grade separations, and other enhancements.

The first and one of the most notable elements of Phase 2A was the award-winning Gold Line Bridge, which crosses over the eastbound lanes of the I-210 freeway, connecting Sierra Madre Villa Station to Arcadia Station. Phase 2A was completed on time and within budget and has extended Gold Line service to the cities of Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale, and Azusa.

Based on the success of Phase 2A, the Authority selected Hill to continue managing and supporting Phase 2B of the program. This Phase extends the Gold Line a further 12.3 miles, adding six stations from Glendora to Montclair. The program is forecasted to conclude in 2028.

Hill’s approach to the extension was based on the firm’s experience with large, complex rail programs throughout the U.S. as well as the Authority’s own best practices and lessons learned from earlier extensions. Specifically, the Hill team’s program management services and support for the award-winning endeavor include:


This living document guides the entire program, from pre-design to revenue service, and contains processes and procedures for stakeholder management, program controls formats, and many other key program components.


The team coordinates with more than 20 program stakeholders, including each corridor city, communities along the alignment, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), BNSF, the Federal Transit Administration, the Southern California Railroad Authority, Caltrans, the California Public Utilities Commission, Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, and numerous utility owners, including Southern California Edison, Southern California Gas, ATT, and Frontier.


Hill provides program controls services to maintain the program’s budget and schedule. This is achieved through structured procedures for the management, control, and monitoring and the early identification, analysis, and resolution of problems as they arise. Specific program controls services entail configuration management, change management, and schedule management, as well as contract, cost, schedule, invoice, and document control.


Hill’s estimating team prepared the engineer’s estimate for the Phase 2A segment utilizing the preliminary engineering plans and performance specifications. The estimate was constructed from the ground up in sequence, by component and by system, accounting for construction methods, materials, and complexity unique to its specific conditions. As the extension is a design-build project, the team estimated the design and construction of the work utilizing the up-to-date cost database, then applied the necessary market escalations and markups and some contingencies. Our estimate was within 5% of the design-build team’s estimate.


Hill develops and executes document control services to manage submittals; contracts; Requests for Proposals; change orders, change notices, and requests for change; non-compliance notices; Requests for Information; schedules; budgets and cost estimates; plan drawings and specifications; general and contract correspondence; construction and progress reports; meeting minutes; contractor claims; and disputes.

“A key element of our program approach for the Gold Line is integrating with the Authority’s own team,” says Hill Vice President Reky Hiramoto, who serves as Deputy Chief Project Officer for the Gold Line. “This integration was especially critical during the design-build procurement of Phase 2A and 2B. As an extension of the Authority’s team, we were involved in the development of the concept design, preparing procurement documents for the design-builder. The Hill team also coordinated and collaborated extensively with Metro, the end user and owner of the system.”

Following award, Hill staff also managed the design-builder’s process for submitting plans for review and approval and managed the review process to help ensure timely turnaround of comments and avoid “scope-creep.” The result: a smooth process and the first phase of the program delivered on time and within budget.


  • 2017 Outstanding Transportation Project Award, Region 9 of the American Society of Civil Engineers
  • 2017 Engineering Excellence Honor Award, American Council of Engineering Companies of California
  • Exceptional Project Achievement Award “Infrastructure-New,” Western Council of Construction Consumers
  • Sustainability Excellence Distinction Award, Western Council of Construction Consumers
  • 2013 Project Achievement Award “Program Management – Infrastructure,” CMAA
  • Outstanding Rail Project of the Year Award, Metropolitan Los Angeles Branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers
  • 2016 Best Rail/Transit Project, California Transportation Foundation
  • 2016 Project Achievement Award “Design-Build Project Valued at More Than $100 Million,” CMAA
  • 2013 Project Achievement Award “Transportation Project Between $11-$50 Million” (Gold Line Bridge), CMAA – Southern California Chapter
  • 2013 Best Projects Award “Highways/Bridges (Southern California),” ENR California
  • 2013 Project Excellence Award “Distinguished Infrastructure,” Western Council of Construction Consumers

“Hill’s greatest strengths were flexibility and responsiveness. We will definitely work with Hill International again.” -Chris Burner, Chief Project Officer, Metro Gold Line Authority

Metro Gold Line Extension