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ARTICLES AND PRESS RELEASES

San Gabriel Valley Tribune
March 20, 2012
By Kevin Smith, SGVN


Companies pursue construction contract for San Gabriel Trench


Fourteen construction firms have been pre-qualified to submit bids to the Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority for a $498 million grade separation project in San Gabriel.

The massive ACE project includes a 1.4-mile trench - 65 feet wide and 30 feet deep - that would lower a section of Union Pacific railroad track through the city.

The work will also involve the construction of street bridges at four crossings - Ramona Street, Mission Road, Del Mar Avenue and San Gabriel Boulevard. It's estimated the entire project will take four years to complete, creating 8,900 jobs during that period.

The project is designed to reduce traffic congestion for the estimated 89,740 vehicles that use those crossings each day. Vehicle traffic at the intersections is intermittently blocked by 14 freight trains that pass through each day and by six passenger trains that use those routes every week.

A unit of Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. is serving as lead construction manager for the project, assisted by Parsons Corp., both of which are headquartered in Pasadena. That contract is valued at more than $18.3 million.

The 14 firms that have pre-qualified to bid on the San Gabriel Trench construction project include Atkinson Contractors, LP; Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, Inc.; Bechtel Infrastructure Corp.; Flatiron West, Inc.; Granite Construction Co.; Herzog Contracting Corp.; Kiewit Infrastructure West Co.; MCM Construction, Inc.; Obayashi Corp.; Pulice Construction Inc.; Shimmick Construction Co., Inc.; Skanska USA Civil West California District, Inc.; Steve P. Rados, Inc.; and Walsh Construction Co.

Balfour Beatty, which maintains a local facility in West Covina, intends to submit a bid, according to spokeswoman Liza Caceres.

"Part of our strategy is to get more into civil and rail work with ports, and this job is significant because of what it means in terms of the expansion of the Panama Canal," she said.

International trade has long been one of Southern California's top economic drivers, but some business leaders fear that an ongoing expansion of the Panama Canal could divert freight movement away from Southland ports and threaten much-needed jobs in the San Gabriel Valley and beyond.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are the nation's busiest, handling 44 percent of the country's containerized imports, 90 percent of California's imports and 75 percent of its exports.

Nearly 60 percent of the containers travel inland along the ACE Trade Corridor to destinations across the country. SWCA Environmental Consultants has been on the project site since 2008, monitoring potential environmental concerns and checking for archeological finds.

"We're at the very end of pre-construction, but we'll still be doing archeological monitoring when the work continues," said John Dietler, lead archeologist for the project. "We did an overview with background research and physical visits to the site to look for endangered species of trees and animals."

SWCA's work uncovered the foundation of an old mill that was built by the padres of the San Gabriel Mission. Dietler said the ruins had been historically well documented, so they were known to be there. The foundation will be moved elsewhere to make way for the trench.

"It's one of the oldest things in the Valley," he said.

Paul Hubler, ACE's director of government and community relations, said two other ACE projects are set to begin construction later this year. An $84.6 million Baldwin Ave. grade separation project in El Monte will create an estimated 1,370 jobs, and a $92.9 million Nogales Street grade separation project in Industry will create another 1,480 jobs.

When combined with the San Gabriel Trench project, all three will generate nearly 12,000 jobs during the duration of their construction.

Hubler noted that ACE will be required to accept the lowest responsible bid. Numerous subcontractors will be involved, he said, some of which will be local to the San Gabriel Valley.

"All three projects that are starting this year have substantial state transportation bond funding," Hubler said. "They were approved by voters in 2006. ACE believes it's important that these projects get under way to start creating jobs in our region - particularly in the hard-hit construction sector."

kevin.smith@sgvn.com

626-962-8811, Ext. 2701