Metro, Kiewet to open first two rebuilt Wilshire ramps three weeks early

Here's the news release from Metro:

Los Angeles, Calif. – The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and its contractor, Kiewit Infrastructure West, plan to open two key ramps — the Westbound Wilshire on-ramp to the Northbound I-405 and the Northbound I-405 off-ramp to Westbound Wilshire — on Friday, August 31 to L.A. motorists, approximately three weeks earlier than scheduled and just in time for Labor Day weekend.

The ramp closures, popularly known as “Ramp Jam” or “Rampture,” were originally scheduled for 90-day closures that officially began on June 22. They were originally scheduled to reopen September 22.

Kiewit benefited from built-in contract incentives to complete work early in efforts by Metro to reduce the duration of traffic impacts resulting from major construction activities. Work crews worked day and night to demolish and rebuild the ramps. Additionally, the project team scheduled the work after UCLA’s quarter ended in June, resulting in lighter local traffic conditions that allowed construction crews to take all needed lane closures and accelerate their work.

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Reminder: Regional Connector update meeting tonight in Little Tokyo

The final meeting in the latest round of community updates for the Regional Connector project is tonight in Little Tokyo. The details:

6:30 to 8:30 PM
Japanese American National Museum
369 E 1st St, Los Angeles

The meeting will also be streamed live. Here's the link.

The main topic of discussion is the ongoing design of the three underground stations for the Regional Connector in Little Tokyo (1st/Central), at 2nd/Broadway and 2nd/Hope.

Meeting discusses alternatives studied as part of SR 710 study

The State Route 710 project’s technical advisory committee met this morning at Metro headquaters in downtown Los Angeles. The topic of discussion: the performance of the alternatives under review for the Alternatives Analysis phase of the study to improve mobility in the western San Gabriel Valley and surrounding area.

A set of five alternative concepts were publicly recommended for further study last week, refined from the previous set of 12. The other seven alternatives are not being considered further because they do not perform as well and/or were more environmentally damaging.

The five remaining alternatives are:

1. A freeway tunnel that would run directly between the 710 terminus in Alhambra and the 210 freeway in Pasadena.

2. A bus rapid transit project (BRT) with refinements between downtown East Los Angeles and Pasadena and neighboring areas.

3. A north-south light rail line (LRT) with refinements between East Los Angeles and Pasadena.

4. A “Transportation System Management/Transportation System Demand (TSM/TDM)” alternative, which is focused on low build and low impact strategies that enhance transit service and existing intersections.

5. No Build alternative.

Through outreach efforts, conceptual engineering and other technical studies, Metro says these will be further refined by Metro consultants as part of the ongoing alternatives analysis phase of the study. Work on the draft environmental impact statement/report will begin by 2013 is likely to take one year.

And this is important: staff is also looking at hybrid approaches that could combine road and transit improvements. The bottom line, staff emphasizes, is that they’re trying to take as broad an approach as possible to help speed travel in the study area.

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Video of Motor Avenue bridge being demolished as part of Expo Line phase 2


We just received a heads up about this great time-lapse video recently posted to YouTube of the old Motor Avenue rail bridge being demolished last week as part of the second phase of the Expo Line between Culver City and Santa Monica.

The old bridge only had room for one set of tracks. The new bridge will have room for two tracks — so trains can easily run in both directions. The second phase of the Expo Line, btw, is a project funded mostly by the Measure R half-cent sales tax approved by L.A. County voters in 2008.

The video credit goes to Mark Morris, a local cinematographer; here’s his website at Great job Mark and thank you from Metro and the Expo Line Construction Authority!

State allocates $60 million to Metrolink to upgrade locomotives and cab cars

Here’s the news release from Metrolink:

Los Angeles- At its August 22 meeting, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) allocated $60 million in Proposition 1 A bond funds to help pay for much-needed upgrades to Metrolink’s fleet of locomotives and coach cars. This program will allow Metrolink to upgrade between 21 and 30 locomotives and 44-55 passenger cars either by purchasing new equipment or rehabilitating existing equipment. Their mechanical and communications systems will be overhauled and new seats and flooring will be installed. Luggage racks, more bike racks and higher powered HVAC systems are planned to be added to accommodate longer trips anticipated as part of the High Speed Rail project.

“These funds will allow Metrolink to serve the region better in many ways. We can move more people, will be more environmentally-friendly and will have fewer delays caused by older equipment,” said Metrolink Board Chair Richard Katz. “This is the biggest capacity-adding project in the agency’s history. It would not be possible without these funds.”

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