City of Azusa celebrates the merging of the Metro Gold Line


Foothill Gold Line crewmember Elias Avila holds the final e-clip that now permanently connects the track system for the Pasadena to Azusa segment of the Foothill Gold Line extension during the track’s completion ceremony on Oct. 18, in Azusa, California.
Photo by: La’Mesha Simpson Clarion

By LA’MESHA SIMPSON & MELISSA PENA | STAFF WRITERS

The city of Azusa celebrates the merging of the Metro Gold Line to the new Citrus/APU stop of the Foothill Gold line extension with a completion ceremony

Completion of the 11-mile extension to the Metro Gold Line connecting east Pasadena through Azusa on Oct. 18 drew a crowd of more than 300 people.
Project stakeholders and elected officials, as well as many community members, attended the celebratory event staged where the future Azusa Downtown Station will be built.

“It took many months and the hard work of many talented people to get to this point,” said Doug Tessitor, Glendora city council member and chairman of the Foothill Gold Line board of directors. “It is a major achievement, and I am glad we took the time to celebrate.”
The final e-clip of approximately 300,000, which is the part of the track connecting the rail to the concrete railroad ties, was driven into place by Foothill Gold Line crewmember Elias Avila.

The track now connects Pasadena, Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale and Azusa.
Ara Najarian, Metro director, recognized Habib Balian, CEO of the Foothill Extension Construction Authority, as the biggest contributor for this project’s success.

“Habib and the board, you are met with respect and dignity because your construction practices are true, your board of governance is true, and no other project in the country can say that,” Najarian said.
The Metro Gold Line construction project is expected to create 7,000 jobs and a billion dollars in economic benefits for the region, according to a Foothill Gold Line press release.
The 11.5-mile Pasadena to Azusa line was fully funded by Measure R and is to be completed within the projected $751 million budget by September 2015.

Commuters will not be able to ride the Pasadena to Azusa segment until Metro completes testing.

“The community is realizing that the dream of having the Foothill Gold Line in their town is quickly becoming a reality,” Tessitor said. “A project that has been nearly four years in the making is now less than a year away from completion. The on-time, on-budget project will forever change the transportation and economic landscape of the San Gabriel Valley and Greater Los Angeles region.”

Citrus and APU students said ‘Build it and we will ride. With Habib and my colleagues, we were able to join forces. Look where we stand today. – Joseph Rocha, Mayor of Azusa

Azusa mayor Joseph Rocha addressed the audience during the Foothill Gold Line Extension ceremony Oct. 18. (La'Mesha Simpson/Clarion)

Azusa mayor Joseph Rocha addressed the audience during the Foothill Gold Line Extension ceremony Oct. 18. (La’Mesha Simpson/Clarion)

Mayors and city council members of cities from Pasadena to Azusa gathered together to unveil a sidewalk dedication marker to signify the importance and historical significance of the light rail system project and its progression to date.

“It’s been phenomenal,” Tessitor said. “We would not be here without the cooperation of each and every city in the San Gabriel Valley to get us to this point. We thank every city.”
Measure R will also offset the cost of the light rail system that will continue from Azusa through Montclair.
This next phase of the Gold Line has been given clearance by the Foothill Board of Directors but has yet to be funded an additional $1 billion.

The Azusa-Citrus station will serve the eastern portion of Azusa as well as Citrus College, Azusa Pacific University, and the Rosedale master planned community currently under development.
“Citrus and APU students said ‘Build it and we will ride,’” said Joseph Rocha, mayor of Azusa. “With Habib and my colleagues, we were able to join forces. Look where we stand today.”

Correction: The first line of the article says: “Completion of the 11-mile extension to the Metro Gold Line connecting east Pasadena through Azusa on Oct. 18 drew a crowd of more than 300 people” – which states that project construction was completed, according to Foothill Gold Line officials, just the tracks for the extension were completed (11.5-mile extension of the Gold Line; 28 miles of track total). There is still construction remaining on the overall project (example: right by Citrus College, the station and parking structure is still being worked on), everything scheduled for completion by September 2015. 

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