Upcoming construction closure: 20th Street at Expo Line intersection in Santa Monica

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expo workHere’s the construction notice from the Expo Line Construction Authority, the agency building the six-mile project that will extend tracks from Culver City to downtown Santa Monica with seven new stations. A segment of 20th Street will be closed this weekend and the next for track work.

The project is funded mostly by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008. It is currently forecast to open in early 2016.

Reconstructed Alondra Boulevard Bridge now open

 Photos: Mark Arroyo/Metro

Earlier today, Caltrans, Metro and the Federal Highway Administration opened the newly reconstructed Alondra Boulevard Bridge. It is the largest of three bridges rebuilt as part of the $110 million Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) Alondra Boulevard Bridge Project.

The 57-year-old Alondra Bridge was completely demolished in June 2013 and rebuilt within 14 months. The new structure meets modern design standards and has been expanded from four to six lanes. This will increase bridge capacity and improve safety and efficiency, eliminating northbound bottlenecks and improving access to regional transit and HOV facilities. The project is a significant milestone in the I-5 South Corridor Improvement Projects and will improve connections within Santa Fe Springs and to the cities of Norwalk, Cerritos and La Mirada.

The Santa Ana Freeway/Alondra Boulevard Bridge Project is funded by federal, state and local monies, including $72 million from Prop 1B, $14.5 million from state transportation funds, and $23.7 million from Metro’s Prop C and Measure R.

The press release from Caltrans is after the jump.

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City of Beverly Hills approves MOA with Metro for Purple Line Extension utility work permits

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The Beverly Hills City Council on Tuesday night unanimously approved a Memorandum of Agreement and authorized its staff to issue permits to Metro to relocate utilities for the Purple Line Extension’s future station at Wilshire/La Cienega. This clears the way for Metro to move forward with its planned pre-construction work within the city’s borders.

Metro will now be able to relocate water, power, sewer and other utility lines once a contractor for the Wilshire/La Cienega station advanced utility work is selected.   Relocating the utilities now will ensure that area residents and business will be able to continue to receive service once actual construction begins for the Wilshire/La Cienega station.

The Memorandum of Agreement clearly defines how the two parties will work together during utility relocation. The MOA is similar to established agreements Metro already has with other cities throughout Los Angeles County.

The unanimous 5 to 0 vote is the result of months of close coordination between Metro and Beverly Hills. The City Council put the agency’s requested permits as well as its MOA through close scrutiny and public debate over the last eight months. City Council members expressed concerns regarding night-time work, noise, parking and local business impacts, among others.

During the vote, the Beverly Hills Council publicly thanked Metro and its construction relations team for working closely with the city. Council Members reported that Metro came to the table, listened to their concerns and worked cooperatively through their issues.

The approvals are welcome news to Metro and will help keep planned pre-construction work on track. Advanced utility relocation work for the other planned stations in the City of Los Angeles has been going on for the last year-and-a-half.

In July, Metro selected a design-builder for the first section of the Purple Line Extension.  The agency is now in a 45-day protest review period. Following the contract award, major construction would likely start next year.

The first phase of the Purple Line Extension will extend tracks for 3.9 miles from the current terminus at Wilshire and Western to Wilshire and La Cienega. New stations will be built at Wilshire/La Brea, Wilshire/Fairfax and Wilshire/La Cienega. The second phase of the project will extend the Purple Line to downtown Beverly Hills and Century City while the third phase will include two stations in Westwood — one at Wilshire and Westwood boulevards, the other at Wilshire and the VA Hospital.

The Purple Line Extension is being funded in part with Measure R, the half-cent sales tax approved by 68 percent of Los Angeles County voters in 2008.

Four-week street closure along 2nd Street between Spring and Broadway beginning August 23

More Regional Connector utility relocation work will start this Saturday, August 23. The work will require 2nd Street between Spring and Broadway to be fully closed for four weeks. Here’s the press release from Metro:

As part of advanced relocation of utilities to pave the way for the construction of station boxes and tunnels to begin on the Regional Connector Project, 2nd Street between Spring Street and Broadway will remain closed for a 4- week period beginning Saturday, August 23.

The closure is necessary so utility crews can install electrical vaults on 2nd Street to support the construction of the 2nd Street/Broadway Station for the Regional Connector. Because the vaults are the width of the street, a 4-week full closure is needed for this work. The closure will be in effect 24-hours a day.

Anticipated hours of construction work are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays. Barriers will be placed to separate the work area from traffic and during the closure, saw-cutting, excavation, conduit and vault installation work will be performed.

Access to the Los Angeles Times 2nd Street Corporate Garage will be maintained during the

4-week closure and access to Joe’s Parking Lot will be maintained via Spring Street and Broadway. Pedestrian access will also be maintained outside the construction zone. Metro bus service should be maintained along both Spring Street and Broadway. No Metro bus service operates along 2nd street in the closure area.

During the closure, westbound 2nd Street traffic will be detoured right on Main Street, left on 1st Street, left on Hill Street back to 2nd Street. Eastbound 2nd Street traffic will be detoured right on Hill Street, left on 4th Street, left on Main Street, back to 2ndStreet.

The $1.427 billion 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, 2ndStreet/Broadway and 2nd Place/Hope Street in downtown Los Angeles. 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.

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 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.

Officials discuss motion seeking to improve Orange Line at media event in NoHo

Three Metro Board Members and other elected officials, activists and business leaders held a media event on Friday morning at the NoHo Orange Line station to discuss the Board’s passage Thursday of a motion calling for feasibility studies of improving the Orange Line and potentially connecting it to Burbank, Glendale and the Gold Line in Pasadena.

A video with some nuggets from the media event is above. Sorry about the shaky camera — I left a key piece of my tripod at home :(

I’ve had several people ask why is this an issue now and the answer is twofold:

Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian, who represents Van Nuys and the surrounding area, wrote a bill reversing a 1991 bill that banned any kind of rail project on the old Southern Pacific rail corridor that became the Orange Line. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown earlier this month.

•With a potential Metro ballot measure on the horizon in 2016, officials and activists realized that could be an opportunity to fund such a project but that having some studies done would help this effort.

I can’t emphasize enough that the motion only asks Metro to study possible upgrades for the Orange Line. Despite what may be said, at this time no decisions have been made about any possible improvements, nor is such a project funded or in Metro’s long-range plan.

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“Notice to Proceed” granted for construction of Regional Connector project!

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It’s official: there are now four Metro Rail projects currently under construction after the Metro earlier this week gave its contractors — the Regional Connector Constructors, Joint Venture — the official “notice to proceed” on building the line. Until recently, Metro never had more than two rail projects underway at the same time.

The Regional Connector will be a 1.9-mile underground light rail line that will connect the Gold Line to the Blue Line and Expo Line in downtown Los Angeles. With a scheduled opening of 2020, the Regional Connector will allow trains to run directly between Santa Monica and East Los Angeles on an east-west line and between Azusa and Long Beach on a north-south line.

That should pass along several benefits to Metro Rail riders: faster and more frequent trains through downtown Los Angeles; fewer transfers for most riders; three new stations in Little Tokyo, Civic Center and 2nd/Hope, and; eliminating the need to turn around every Blue Line and Expo Line train at 7th/Metro Center, where both lines currently dead end.

Utility relocations and other advance work on the project began last year.

The three other Metro Rail lines under construction are a 6-mile extension of the Expo Line between Culver City and downtown Santa Monica, an 11.5-mile extension of the Gold Line between eastern Pasadena and the Azusa/Glendora border and the 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX Line that will run between the Expo Line and connect to the Green Line south of the airport.

The Expo Line and Gold Line Foothill Extension projects are currently scheduled to open in early 2016. The Crenshaw/LAX Line is scheduled to open in 2019; it will eventually connect to a people mover to be built by Los Angeles World Airports to connect the Crenshaw/LAX Line and Green Line to terminals at the airport.

The Metro Board is also scheduled to consider awarding a construction contract later this month for the 3.9-mile first phase of the Purple Line Extension subway between the existing Wilshire/Western station and Wilshire/La Cienega. When work begins, there will be five Metro Rail projects under construction.

All five of these projects are receiving funding from Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by two million Los Angeles County voters in Nov. 2008. Measure R included funds for 12 transit projects and a number of highway projects, as well as money for operations and funds for smaller transportation projects in cities in Los Angeles County.

Century Boulevard Bridge to be demolished July 25-28, 2014

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Here’s a traffic and construction alert that is still a little down the road. But it’s important, especially for those trying to reach LAX: the old rail bridge over Century Boulevard has to be demolished to make way for the Crenshaw/LAX Line’s Aviation/Century station.

The demolition will close Century Boulevard at the intersection of Aviation Boulevard from Friday night, July 25, through Monday morning, July 28.

A detour map and alternative routes will be posted as they become available. We wanted to provide ample warning for those who already know they need to travel to or from the LAX terminals that weekend.

The company in charge of the demolition project will be Penhall, the same company that demolished the Mulholland Bridge during the Carmaggedon closures on the 405 freeway in 2011 and 2012.

The 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor Project is a light-rail line that will run between the Expo and Green Lines. The $2.058-billion Measure R transit project will serve the Crenshaw Corridor, Inglewood, Westchester and the LAX area with eight new stations, a maintenance facility and park and ride lots.

For more information on the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project visit metro.net/crenshaw or by email to crenshawcorridor@metro.net, by phone at (213) 922.2736 or follow the project at facebook.com/crenshawrail or twitter.com/crenshawrail.