Metro Board approves $927-million contract for construction of Regional Connector project

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A $927.2-million contract to build the Regional Connector light rail project was awarded to Connector Constructors (a Joint Venture between Skanska USA Civil West California District, Inc., and Traylor Bros. Inc.) by the Metro Board of Directors on Thursday.

The 1.9-mile underground rail line, forecast to be complete in 2020, will connect the Gold Line to the Blue and Expo lines and allow trains to travel directly from Azusa to Long Beach and from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica. This should speed trips through downtown and reduce the number of transfers for most riders.

The Board also approved a motion by Board Member Don Knabe authorizing Metro CEO Art Leahy to add an upper level and pedestrian bridge at the Connector’s 2nd/Hope Street Station to better connect the station to Grand Avenue (2nd/Hope is down hill from Grand) and to secure funding for it, including an elevator and/or escalator. The motion asks for the upper level and bridge be incorporated into scope and project budget. Here is an earlier Source post with more renderings of what a second level and bridge may look like.

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This is the 2nd/Hope Station as originally planned.

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This is a Metro rendering of a possible upper level and pedestrian bridge to the new Broad Museum that the Metro Board wants added to the project. The idea is to bring the station up to the level of Grand Avenue.

The $1.42-billion project is partially funded by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008. The Regional Connector is also being funded by a $670-million federal New Starts grant and $160-million federally-backed TIFIA loan.

The Board also approved Item 77C in closed session today involving a property acquisition from the Los Angeles Times at Broadway and Spring. Metro Board Chair Diane DuBois said terms of the agreement will be released after the deal is finalized.

The Regional Connector will be the fourth rail project now under construction, joining the Crenshaw/LAX Line, Expo Line Phase 2 and the Gold Line Foothill Extension. The Purple Line Extension contract is expected to be awarded this summer and it will be the fifth rail project in Los Angeles under construction because of Measure R. In addition, Metro has begun receiving the first of 550 new state-of-the-art buses and is spending $1.2 billion to overhaul the Metro Blue Line, including the purchase of new light rail vehicles.

Here is the Metro staff report on the contract:

The news release from Metro is after the jump:

Metro Board Awards $927.2 Million Contract to Skanska USA/Traylor Bros. 

To Design and Build the Regional Connector Transit Corridor Project

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board of Directors today approved a $927.2 million contract to Regional Connector Constructors, a joint venture between Skanska USA Civil West California District, Inc. and Traylor Brothers Inc. to design and build the Regional Connector Transit Corridor Project.

The Regional Connector light rail project will complete a 1.9 mile gap connecting the Metro Gold Line with the Blue and Expo lines by providing a direct connection with three new stations planned for 1st Street/Central Avenue, 2nd Street/Broadway and 2nd Place/Hope Street in downtown Los Angeles.

In addition to awarding the contract, the Board also approved an additional $39.99 million for the Regional Connector Life-of-Project budget for a total budget of $1.420 billion. Of the four bids received, Skanska/Traylor had the overall highest ranking including the highest technical score and the highest evaluated score for pricing, based on the criteria in the request for proposals. In recommending the award of the contract, staff noted that Skanska/Traylor indicated that they plan to finish construction 115 days early and will absorb the cost of any delays caused by Metro or subcontractors.

The Regional Connector Project is an important rail connection project overwhelmingly approved by the voters and funded by the Measure R half-cent sales tax for LA County transportation improvements. Earlier this year, Metro joined federal, state and local elected officials in announcing the receipt of a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) from the Federal Transit Administration in the amount of $670 million and a $160 million low interest federal loan from a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) to fund the project.

The Regional Connector, expected to be completed in 2020, will attract nearly 17,000 new daily riders and provide access to more than 88,000 passengers saving commuters up to 20 minutes off their daily commutes. It will provide a one-seat, one fare ride for commuters from Azusa to Long Beach and from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica without the need to transfer between rail lines for major east/west and north/south trips.

The Metro Board also voted to have staff work with stakeholders and community members to identify and secure additional funding for an upper-level elevator entrance and pedestrian bridge to connect the 2nd /Hope Station to Grand Avenue and report back to the Board in September.

The new Metro Rail extension will offer an alternative transportation option to congested roadways, provide significant environmental benefits and spur economic development throughout Los Angeles County. Through improved connectivity, riders will be better able to use the entire Metro Rail system, municipal bus lines and other regional transportation services.

For more information about the Regional Connector project, visit metro.net/projects/connector.

In addition, stay informed by following us on The Source and El Pasajero at metro.net, facebook.com/losangelesmetro, twitter.com/metrolosangeles and twitter.com/metroLAalerts and instagram.com/metrolosangeles.

12 replies

  1. “The 1.9-mile underground rail line … will allow trains to travel directly from Azusa to Long Beach and from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica. ” But not to LAX, that will still be two transfers away, at Crenshaw and at the People Mover. This is soooo Metro.

  2. Metro- I have to say I detest this station. Why make the entrance in an island surrounded by streets? This is another example of how Metro continues to expand its transportation system yet it’s afraid to upset drivers thus making the system inferior. Think the Expo line and the lack of signal priority and crossing gates. Trains have to wait for cars?

    If you’re serious about doing this right, the best option would be to remove a street to make a seamless pedestrian transfer.

  3. Actually, it’s pretty much understandable. Built-up area means you put the station where there’s space. I imagine reconstructing one of the adjacent buildings to include a London-style ground floor station portal or building pedestrian tunnels to one side or another would have been cost-prohibitive.

    But Metro really does need to get LADOT to play ball and give trains signal priority ASAP.

  4. The link to the “earlier Source post” with more images does not work. (Sorry, I left this comment on another post)

  5. Sean, LA’s Department of Transportation is responsible for signal priority, not Metro. But LADOT has so far refused to allow greater priority for Metro trains, as to not annoy drivers who would experience a few extra seconds of delay. LADOT is still all about moving cars, and they could care less about transit riders, unfortunately.

  6. It’s always a good thing to improve the urban landscape. With a budget of $927-million the construction should be of great quality. Traylor Bros. has the right heavy equipment and knowledge for excavation, drilling etc…

  7. Any chance the City of Los Angeles will pay the extra cost to build what it would like to have? The South Bay is still waiting for their return from their measure R money.