The cities and ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles and surrounding communities long sought ways to improve port access to accommodate steadily increasing cargo volumes while minimizing the impact on residents and businesses. A major result of that effort is the Alameda Corridor, a 20-mile-long rail expressway linking the ports to the transcontinental railroad system near downtown Los Angeles.
The $2.4 billion Alameda Corridor is a testament to the vision, cooperation and perseverance of many entities. Here are some key dates in the evolution of the Alameda Corridor from a low-budget planning study to on-time on-budget delivery of one of the nation’s largest public works projects.
Facing increases in cargo crossing their docks, ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles begin to plan for future expansion.
Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) forms Ports Advisory Committee (PAC) in response to growing concerns about the ability of ground transportation systems to accommodate increasing levels of cargo flowing through the ports. Members include local elected officials and representatives of the ports, the U.S. Navy, Army Corps of Engineers, railroads, trucking industry and the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (predecessor to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority).
PAC completes highway access report that recommends comprehensive list of highway improvements, including the widening of Alameda Street from State Route 91 south to the ports.
PAC completes rail access report recommending consolidated rail corridor.
SCAG Executive Committee adopts plan recommended by PAC to consolidate port-related rail traffic from four branch lines into the former Southern Pacific Railroad’s San Pedro Branch, a 20-mile line running parallel to Alameda Street between the ports and the transcontinental rail yards near downtown Los Angeles. This would become the general route of the Alameda Corridor.
SCAG forms Alameda Corridor Task Force to further develop consolidated rail corridor concept. Task force begins to develop consensus on institutional arrangements, phasing and funding. Membership similar to PAC, with addition of California Public Utilities Commission and each of the eight cities along the route.
Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles publish Consolidated Rail Corridor Strategic Plan recommending a consolidated rail corridor.
Joint powers authority formed by the cities of Long Beach and Los Angeles to design and construct the consolidated corridor. The agency was originally called the Consolidated Transportation Corridor Joint Powers Authority. The Governing Board originally included 16 members, with representatives of all the cities along the route in addition to Long Beach and Los Angeles, the two ports and other agencies.
Governing Board appoints first General Manager, opens temporary agency office at Huntington Park, Calif., City Hall. May 1990, Governing Board selects joint venture of Daniel Mann Johnson Mendenhall (DMJM) and Moffatt & Nichol Engineers to conduct feasibility study, prepare environmental documents.
Governing Board recommends agency name change to Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA) to better reflect the selected route along Alameda Street.
ACTA Governing Board certifies Environmental Impact Report (EIR) required by the state for the project to proceed.
Ports complete purchase of necessary rights-of-way from railroads for $394 million.
Governing Board selects joint venture of civil engineering firms, known as Alameda Corridor Engineering Team (ACET), to serve as lead program manager. ACET includes the firms of Daniel Mann Johnson Mendenhall (DMJM), Moffatt & Nichol Engineers, Jenkins-Gales & Martinez, Inc., and TELACU.
National Highway System Designation Act becomes law and names Alameda Corridor a “high-priority corridor,” making the project eligible for a federal loan. During debate, Senators refer to Alameda Corridor as a “project of national significance.”
ACTA establishes permanent offices in Carson, Calif., and expands professional staff.
Governing Board certifies federal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and federal transportation officials approve permit to construct project.
Congress approves Transportation Appropriations Bill that includes $58.68 million needed to back a $400 million Department of Transportation loan for the Alameda Corridor.
President Clinton hosts White House signing ceremony for $400 million loan, attended by ACTA officials, the Mayors of Long Beach and Los Angeles, and port officials.
Composition of ACTA Governing Board changed to seven members: two representatives from each of the two ports; a representative of the Long Beach City Council; a representative of the Los Angeles City Council, and a representative of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Construction commences with work on three-track rail bridge over Los Angeles River, replacing a single-track bridge first built in 1905.
Governing Board requests authorization to utilize design-build approach on the Mid-Corridor Trench, the project’s biggest contract. Subsequent Los Angeles City Council authorization saves an estimated 18 months from traditional project delivery approach by allowing design work and construction to overlap.
Governing Board approves Use and Operating Agreement with Union Pacific Railroad and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. The agreement calls for railroads to pay fees for use of the Alameda Corridor, creating a revenue stream needed to pay off the federal loan and bonds.
Governing Board awards contract for Mid-Corridor Trench, the project’s single largest contract and centerpiece, to team led by Tutor-Saliba Corporation.
ACTA dedicates first completed project of the Alameda Corridor, the Los Angeles River Bridge.
Construction on Mid-Corridor Trench commences with groundbreaking ceremony attended by federal, state and local elected officials.
Private investors purchase last of $1.16 billion in ACTA revenue bonds, completing the project’s funding package.
Project reaches peak construction period, with up to 1,500 people working up and down the route on any given day.
Governing Board authorizes ACTA to manage design and construction of additional project, the Pacific Coast Highway Grade Separation. Area legislators had urged ACTA’s involvement to expedite California Department of Transportation project.
ACTA dedicates Redondo Junction project, stretching the length of eight football fields and separating commuter trains from freight trains and local streets.
Excavation of Mid-Corridor Trench completed.
Testing of electronic revenue collection system begins.
Railroad track installation completed in Mid-Corridor Trench.
Revenue operations begin following grand opening ceremony attended by federal, state and local elected officials.
Pacific Coast Highway Grade Separation opened to traffic on time and under budget.
ACTA pays back federal loan and refinances with new public debt to reduce interest rate.
Sixth Anniversary marks 100,000 trains having used corridor.
Tenth Anniversary marks over 150,000 trains having used the corridor carrying over 20 million containers and pollution reduction of 13,000 tons.