Orange County Branch Newsletter

May 2012

OC Firm Spotlight - Moffatt & Nichol

San Gabriel Trench

ENTRENCHED in San Gabriel!

Long Beach-based Moffatt & Nichol is multidiscipline engineering firm, proudly providing a full range of professional engineering services to Orange County agencies and municipalities, since our first contract with the county in 1949. Projects that may be familiar to area commuters include the landmark El Toro Y and Newport Arches. Along the Orange Coast, the firm led the Bolsa Chica Wetlands and Huntington Beach Wetlands restorations, and has performed maintenance dredging at Dana Point Harbor. On the civil side, Moffatt & Nichol’s team has supported low flow diversion, flood control, and pump station projects countywide. Just north of the county line, Moffatt & Nichol has been involved in the Alameda Corridor-East (ACE) San Gabriel Trench project since 2008.

With an estimated total project value of $498 million, the 2.2-mile San Gabriel Trench grade separation is the largest project in ACE program, which includes 22 grade separation projects, 14 of which will be in or have completed construction by 2012, and safety upgrades completed at 39 rail crossings. Dubbed the “Gateway to America,” the corridor program extends the Alameda Corridor grade separation program eastward through Los Angeles County, connecting the Los Angeles and Long Beach port complexes to the transcontinental rail network to establish a faster, more environmentally sound method of distributing a projected $314 billion in annual trade.

The ACE San Gabriel trench project stretches from west to east through the cities of Alhambra, San Gabriel, and Rosemead, and has been designed to lower a 1.4-mile section of Union Pacific railroad track below street level to allow vehicle and pedestrian traffic to pass safely over the tracks via four different roadways.

The project benefits are far reaching: Using a trench alternative for the grade separation is anticipated to alleviate a combined total of 1,744 hours of vehicle delay each day at four crossings and eliminate delays for safety and emergency vehicles - fire trucks, ambulances and police. In addition to reducing the potential for crossing collisions (now estimated at one every four years), the project is expected to eliminate locomotive horn and crossing bell noise, and to decrease air pollution by 213 tons per year by 2030. As an economic engine, the project construction will create an estimated 9,000 full-time equivalent jobs.

Moffatt & Nichol served as the prime engineering consultant, and the firm’s design team was initially involved in a preliminary analysis to evaluate alternatives and determine if it were optimal for the landmark project to proceed either as a design-build or as a design-bid-build procurement. After successfully completing the analysis, ACE retained the Moffatt & Nichol Team to prepare final construction documents. The project is certified as ready for construction and early construction activities, including archaeological excavation, have begun. ACE expects to award the main construction contract in summer of 2012.

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