As frustration has grown within the campus community over daily delays attributed to the ongoing construction on campus, Cal Poly Pomona officials aimed to clarify the process and necessity of the road renovation.
After decades of use, along with inadequate drainage systems, University Drive has reached the end of its service life as cited by KPFF Engineers. The required construction, called The University Drive Rehabilitation Project, allows Cal Poly Pomona to simultaneously move forward with their Campus Master Plan by creating a dedicated shuttle bus lane along University Drive and constructing new Americans with Disabilities Act compliant crosswalks.
“This road has not had any rehab for decades, you might recall a lot of potholes and cracks throughout many sections,” said Danny Wu, director of campus planning and transportation. “We are reconstructing inches of the roadway and there is a lot of safety improvements beyond the shuttle lane being added, like the ADA upgrades and crosswalk improvements.”
This first phase of work is in-line with the long-term Campus Master Plan to take an emphasis off fossil fuel use and shift towards greener, alternative transportation methods. With initiatives like the Class Pass to create affordable transit access and pending direct routes by Foothill Transit’s Silver Streak to the campus, the rehabilitation project is another step towards reaching this goal.
The $5 million project received authorization from the California State University Chancellor’s Office in September 2019. This was followed by a planning phase consisting of traffic studies as well as geotechnical and soil investigations by Fehr and Peers for the majority of 2020.
The subsequent design phase began in February 2021 where KPFF consultants were hired to provide construction drawings and fulfill code mandated reviews for the time-consuming state permits like the State Fire Marshal and Division of the State Architect. By February 2022, bidding was ready, and construction began on June 2, 2022, once all construction contracts were signed and approved.
“When you start a project there is a process of design and of receiving building permits … it took quite a piece of time to get all the permits,” said Jaime Landman, project manager of facilities design and construction. “In order to start in June, we started this process five or six months earlier… this is a state contract, and it must fulfill state procedures.”
The first phase of this project entails contractor crews repaving University Drive from Red Gum Lane to Camphor Lane while widening narrow sections near the College of Science and the old residence halls to allow for a dedicated shuttle lane. New crosswalks will also be made to comply with ADA requirements and reroute runoff into a pre-existing underground drainage system.
Construction is scheduled to conclude by Oct. 31, though previous and potential unforeseen conditions throughout the road project could impose delays but Landman assured the project to conclude by the end of the 2022.
“We are finding several underground uncertainties and complexities that we are dealing with almost every day, and we are trying to solve the issues so we may continue moving the project forward,” said Landman. “If the project finishes by the official deadline or later it will not be many weeks later.”
Due to the construction, University Drive has been brought down to one eastbound lane which is closed for faculty and students from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, with an exception for shuttle buses, state vehicles and vehicles with ADA tags. This measure along with the return of in-person learning has temporarily worsened the preexisting issue of traffic for the CPP community being addressed by the project.
“Before the construction, traffic still existed on University Drive,” shared Mike Yu, director of parking and transportation services. “One of the goals of the construction project is to address the traffic impact issue … I know it sucks dealing with traffic now but hang in there, we’re doing what we can, when it’s all said and done it will be worth it.”
For those who do commute to campus, understanding the times of attendance may ease the traffic experience. The peak days are Tuesdays and Thursdays with the most students present at 1 p.m. followed by 8 a.m., 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. respectively. For Wednesdays 1 p.m. in the busiest as well, followed by 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. respectively.
Students and staff who used Lot A in the past are asked to use the new parking structure across from the Farm Store or Lot J and M when on University Drive. The F series lots along with Parking Structure 1, and Lot H for electric vehicles, may still be accessed by Kellogg Drive and Magnolia Lane.