Back in 2005-06, Arcadia businesses and Chamber members were among the earliest supporters of a plan to build a $13 mil. bridge for the Gold Line light rail train to travel over busy Santa Anita Avenue instead of obstructing traffic every few minutes.
More than seven years later, Arcadia businesses are among those that will be impacted the most by the construction that is finally getting underway.
Councilman Gary Kovacic noted during a groundbreaking ceremony Friday morning (April 12, 2013) that among the supporters of the 2005 Measure A campaign to get residents to fund a bond issue to cover $8 million towards the cost of the bridge were current Chamber Community Builder Presenting Sponsor Westfield Santa Anita and chamber members Rusnak Mercedes, Santa Anita Park, and Oak Tree Racing.
Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority CEO Habib Balian noted that the businesses about to be impact the most during the next seven months of construction will be Chamber member Fasching’s Car Wash as well as Goldstein’s Bagel Bakery and In N Out Burgers. But Construction Authority officials praised Fasching’s owner George Fasching for his support of the project. Fasching, who will be recognized this week as an Arcadia Business Icon at the Chamber’s monthly Networking Breakfast on April 18, has even allowed the Authority to install a new billboard on the southwest end of his property (photo at right).
At the groundbreaking ceremony by Metro and the City of Arcadia for the third of four Gold Line bridges being built in Arcadia (video highlights here at ArcadiasBest.com and interviews here at Pasadena Star-News), Balian said the current rise in the street to meet the railroad tracks near Fasching’s Car Wash will be removed to allow for the bridge, meaning the road will need to be lowered six feet.
Construction of the structure will begin around May 1, or as soon as work is complete on the new replacement bridge a few yards away over Colorado Blvd near Newcastle Park.
Work on the Santa Anita bridge will result in the closing of one lane in each direction for four months and some full closures overnight, as well as three additional months of construction during which both lanes in each direction will be open but still with some traffic impacts.
“Brace yourselves,” Balian warned.
La Porte Street off Santa Anita Ave to the east and near the tracks will be closed, according to Arcadia police.
The first Gold Line extension bridge over the 210 freeway was completed in December. The fourth two-track bridge to begin construction this fall will replace the one-track structure over Huntington Drive at Second Avenue. Meanwhile, preliminary work has already begun on the Arcadia train station and two-level parking garage on the northwest corner of the intersection at First Avenue and Santa Clara Street.
Mayor Bob Harbicht noted with pride that Arcadia is the only city building a bridge to avoid a street crossing along the new 11.5 mile extension of the track to Azusa, which is to be ready by late 2015 and probably opened in early 2016. Street-level crossings in Pasadena and other cities result in traffic being stopped for several minutes at a time every five minutes or so during rush hour and peak periods.
Harbicht and City Councilman Gary Kovacic said the residents of Arcadia stepped up in 2006 to overwhelmingly approve an $8 million bond issue to supplement a commitment of $5 mil. in city funds to build the $13 mil. bridge. Nearly 72% of voters approved the Measure A ballot measure in the pre-recession days.
Seven years later, rather than an increase in the cost of the project, which is typical when so many years pass, the bridge is now expected to cost about $12.5 mil.
Police say that detours and closures will be posted on Santa Anita Ave during construction. Local businesses will remain open and accessible. The bridge project is projected in phases with this first phase of construction being May-August 2013. The Gold Line intends to open all lanes and stop most construction during the Breeders’ Cup races Nov. 1-2, and hopefully for the entire Autumn race meet at nearby Santa Anita Park beginning in late September through early November.
Police recommend that if you commute via Santa Anita Ave that you please consider using an alternate north-south roadway during construction to avoid delays and detours.
For more information, visit www.foothillextension.org, or call the hotline at 626-324-7098. There is also a Public Information Office located at 400 N. Santa Anita Avenue, Suite 101-B, Arcadia, open Monday and Wednesday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.