Alameda Corridor Selects Contractor to Design Pacific Coast Highway Grade Separation Project
AUGUST 16, 2001
LOS ANGELES COUNTY– Moving quickly to relieve traffic congestion at a busy intersection, the public agency building the Alameda Corridor rail cargo expressway selected a firm Thursday to design the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) Grade Separation.
One month after agreeing to take on the project, the Governing Board of the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA) authorized staff to enter into a contract with the engineering firm of HDR, Inc. The firm was one of six to respond to ACTA’s request for a statement of qualifications. Two firms were selected to submit formal proposals and be interviewed by a panel of officials from ACTA, the Port of Los Angeles and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). The panel unanimously recommended HDR, and the Governing Board agreed, authorizing staff to negotiate a contract.
ACTA officials said their goal is to have the agreement executed and a notice to proceed issued in September. ACTA will immediately begin the process of selecting a construction management firm. An accelerated schedule calls for the project to be completed in 18-24 months, with construction commencing in fall 2002.
“Improvements at the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Alameda Street in Wilmington are long overdue,” said Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, vice-chairwoman of the ACTA Governing Board. Her 15th Council District includes Wilmington. “It is imperative that we act expeditiously to provide traffic congestion relief that Wilmington residents and other motorists deserve.”
The PCH intersection with the Alameda Corridor is the only location along the Corridor’s 20-mile route where train and street traffic will still conflict when the rail cargo expressway opens in April 2002. Also, it has the greatest volume of conflicts between rail and street traffic of any intersection along the Alameda Corridor. Therefore, completion of the PCH Grade Separation in a timely manner is critical to avoiding major traffic bottlenecks.
Last month, ACTA and Caltrans officials approved an agreement calling for ACTA to assume management of the PCH Grade Separation from Caltrans. The agreement calls for the PCH Grade Separation to carry vehicles on PCH over the Alameda Corridor mainline, Alameda Street and the San Pedro branch of the Union Pacific Railroad on a bridge more than a mile long. ACTA will adhere to state and federal design standards while utilizing ACTA policies and procedures.
Caltrans had previously identified $65 million of the estimated project cost of $107 million, leaving a shortfall of $42 million. To fill the funding gap, Caltrans has pledged an additional $14 million, and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has authorized $13.3 million for the project, with the understanding that this could increase to $14 million. Caltrans is in discussions to secure the outstanding balance of approximately $14 million.
“Because of the importance of the PCH Grade Separation to local communities, we are willing to assist in expediting the project, so long as it does not affect ACTA’s funding commitments or project timetable,” said ACTA Governing Board Chairman Frank Colonna, a member of the Long Beach City Council.
ACTA, a joint powers authority of the cities and ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, is building a 20-mile-long rail cargo expressway between the ports and the transcontinental rail yards near downtown Los Angeles. The Alameda Corridor will improve the flow of goods through the ports and reduce traffic congestion by consolidating rail lines and eliminating traffic conflicts at more than 200 street-level railroad crossings. Construction of the $2.4 billion project, begun in 1997, remains on budget and on schedule for completion in April 2002.