Gold Line Bridge

Location Arcadia, CA

Client Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority

Services Construction Management, Program Management, Project Management

Project Value $18.6 million

The Gold Line Bridge is the first completed element of the 11.5 mile Foothill Gold Line Extension light rail project from Pasadena to Azusa, providing a connection between the existing Sierra Madre Villa Station in Pasadena and the future Arcadia Station. The bridge spans the eastbound I-210 freeway and will carry the dual-track light rail system from the freeway median across the freeway along the former BNSF rail alignment through the city of Arcadia. The design concept was developed by award-winning public artist Andrew Leicester, who has created several international, large-scale public art projects. His bridge design was inspired by the local indigenous peoples and wildlife of the San Gabriel Valley. The unique structure features signature support columns capped with 25 foot tall precast basket elements combined with a ribbed exterior girder system symbolizing the underbelly of the Western Diamondback snake.

The Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, with the support of Hill, served as construction manager from redesign through construction. The team emphasized engagement through frequent communication as demonstrated by weekly design, construction progress, and quality review meetings. Frequent informal partnering and issue resolution meetings helped facilitate teamwork and address issues quickly and effectively. The project was supported by a dispute resolution board, which was retired midway through the project by mutual agreement. 

The contract required the design-builder to submit a QC/QA plan for the design and construction phases of the project. The plan also required the contractor’s quality management team be managed by staff independent of the production organization and that third-party inspection and testing agencies be utilized. In practice, this organization worked with the QC/QA team demonstrating the independence and thoroughness necessary to complete a project fully documented and compliant with contract terms. This success was possible through weekly meetings between the design-builder’s quality management team, the Authority, and Caltrans to review RFIs, drawing revisions, and quality reports, and resolve non-compliance and deficiency items. A total of 98 RFIs and 14 non-conformance reports were issued on the project.

The Bridge project conditions were well-defined and unforeseen conditions amounted to less than 2% of the cost. Prior to advertising, the Authority embarked on an extensive earthquake fault study to minimize bid risk and manage project costs. During construction, an additional 5% of owner enhancements were added to the scope of work. These enhancements focused on aesthetic and architectural elements, including work originally scheduled to be completed by the follow-on contractor building the rail infrastructure on the bridge. At the completion of the project, both the Authority and the design-builder were able to stay within their respective budgets. 

During construction, the design-builder faced many challenges working within a constrained site over a heavily used freeway. Hill helped to manage these challenges by planning and coordinating with Caltrans, the City of Arcadia, residents, and the traveling public. Approximately 65 full freeway night-time closures were needed to erect and remove falsework, place concrete, and restore the site. The soffit and stems of the superstructure were constructed in a single 20-hour concrete pour requiring 3 simultaneous operations to place 2,200 yards of high strength concrete. The team performed more than 100 nights of work between midnight and 5:00 a.m.

Hill received a Project Achievement Award from the Southern California Chapter of CMAA for its management of the construction of the Gold Line Bridge in Arcadia, CA, which won in the category of Transportation Projects Between $11-$50 Million.