Expo Phase 2 design moves forward as preliminary construction gets underway

A rendering of the planned Bundy Drive station in West Los Angeles.

The Expo Construction Authority hosted a community meeting last night in Santa Monica to update Westsiders on the progress of Phase 2′s design and the preliminary construction schedule. The Measure R project will connect Expo Phase 1′s terminus in Culver City to downtown Santa Monica when completed, providing a reliable transit alternative to the Westside’s notorious gridlock.

Because Phase 2 is being done as a “design-build” project, Expo staff is finalizing the design details even as early phases of construction get under way. More than a hundred members of the public turned out to view a presentation and pepper Expo staff and contractors with questions.

Topics included:

  • Ways to improve bicycle and pedestrian connections to stations.
  • The precise alignment of the tracks.
  • The design and amenities at each station.
  • Parking for bicycles and cars.
  • And, how the bicycle path will negotiate tricky intersections.

According to a presentation [PDF] given by Expo’s Gabriela Collins, the Phase 2 design is about 60% finished, meaning that many of the big decisions are in place and now it’s just a matter of making smaller tweaks. But those details are important and that’s why Expo is soliciting feedback from the community. The point, after all, is to make a light rail station a great public space and a focal point for the community.

As for the construction activity you can expect to see in the next few months, an official with the Skanska-Rados design-build contractor said that they will be working on the following:

  • Environmental remediation (i.e. cleaning up polluted soil along the right of way).
  • Demolishing buildings in the right of way (Metro has owned the right of way since the 1990s, so those leasing the land have been aware of this eventuality for some time).
  • Relocation of existing underground utility lines (i.e. gas, electric, water).

Expo and contractor staff go over the Phase 2 route with members of the community.

Later in 2012, the contractor will begin installing the foundations for the Expo Phase 2 light rail bridges, because those require the most lead time. Major construction, however, won’t ramp up until 2013. That’s when we can expect two years of intensive construction: laying tracks, building stations, installing overhead electrical wire and the rest. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2015.

In the mean time, if you couldn’t make it to the meeting, here’s a presentation [PDF] from this month’s Expo Urban Design Committee meeting that shows some preliminary renderings of station designs.

For more information about the Expo Line project, check out www.BuildExpo.org or call 213.922.EXPO (3976).

You can stay in the loop by liking Expo at Facebook.com/ExpoLine and following Expo on Twitter @ExpoLine. And if you’re in Santa Monica, consider also following @ExpoInSM for construction news and information.

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