A passageway through the new transportation center in Burbank

A passageway through the new transportation center, under construction, that leads to a crosswalk to the terminal at the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank on Thursday, November 21, 2013. (Tim Berger / Staff Photographer / January 22, 2014)

Funding has been secured for a $15-million pedestrian bridge that will cross over Empire Avenue and end inside a new transportation center, making access to Bob Hope Airport easier from a Metrolink station south of the airfield.

It’s separate from a $112-million project at the airport that includes the new transportation center, which is expected to be completed in June or July, a new parking structure, which was recently completed, as well as an elevated walkway from the transportation center to the terminal.

However, both projects are designed to improve access to the airport, according to airport spokesman Victor Gill.

The bridge will be funded, in part, by a $7-million grant by the California Department of Transportation and a matching grant from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

It will provide “train-to-plane” access for travelers who don’t want to deal with vehicular traffic crossing Empire Avenue.

Don Sepulveda, executive officer of regional rail for Metro, told members of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority on Tuesday the new walkway will create “connectivity” for plane and train passengers throughout the region.

“It’s a game-changer for us,” Sepulveda said. “What it means is that somebody can take a train from anywhere in Southern California, come to the existing Bob Hope station and get on a grade-separated access walkway to the terminal... Right now, it is a bit of a challenge to get to the terminal from the (Metrolink) station.”

He added that it will also provide a “smooth flow” to car rental facilities, which will be housed on the second floor of the transportation center, where the bridge will end.

Mark Hardyment, director of transportation and environmental programs for the airport, said the bridge project will go before the California Transportation Commission in March.

Sepulveda said a request for proposals for engineering design is expected this summer.

“You can see how the bridge across Empire really transforms Empire Avenue from a very industrial street now to what can really be a transportation hub,” Hardyment said.

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Follow Tim Traeger on Twitter: @TraegerTim.

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