“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.

Metro staff recommend contractors to build Purple Line Extension’s first phase

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This another step forward for the 3.9-mile Purple Line Extension project and puts the subway addition closer to construction. Utility relocations and some other prep work have are already underway.

Three rail projects that are receiving Measure R funding are already under construction — the Crenshaw/LAX Line, the Expo Line Phase 2 and the Gold Line Foothill Extension. The Regional Connector is ramping up for construction after the awarding of a construction contract earlier this year.

There will be more details on the Purple Line Extension contract later in the month when the staff report is released. The Metro Board is scheduled to consider the contract at its meeting later this month.

The news release from Metro:

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) staff today recommended awarding a $1.636 billion contract to design and build a 3.9-mile extension of the Metro Purple Line subway from Wilshire and Western to Wilshire and La Cienega to a joint venture composed of three of the world’s top construction companies.

At its July 24 meeting the Metro Board will consider the recommendation to award a contract to the firms of Skanska, Traylor Bros. and J.F. Shea, a Joint Venture (STS). The Metro Board’s Construction Committee will first review staff’s recommendation on July 17.

The procurement process has been extensive and altogether has taken nearly two years to reach the point where the Metro Board this month will consider a contract award for the first phase of the subway extension.

The contract calls for building twin subway tunnels on a 3.92-mile alignment that includes three new underground stations at Wilshire/La Brea, Wilshire/Fairfax and Wilshire/La Cienega. It also includes train control and signals, communications, traction power supply and distribution, and fare collection systems that will be integrated with the existing Metro Rail system. Construction activities could begin later this year depending on when the contract is awarded. The contract requires completion in October 2024. The contractors have proposed an early completion schedule saving 300 calendar days.

Combined, these three construction firms have more than 300 years of experience.    Traylor Bros., Inc. has a track record that features more than 110 tunneling projects including the Metro Gold Line Eastside project that connects downtown Los Angeles with Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles. That project was completed in 2009 on time and within budget, and Traylor Bros. achieved 4.5 million work hours without incident and zero ground loss during construction.

Skanska is building the extension of the Expo light rail project from Culver City to Santa Monica, scheduled to open in early 2016. The project is on time and within budget.  The company also worked on the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension from Pasadena to Azusa, also scheduled to open in 2016 and is on time and within budget.

Skanska and Traylor Bros. are the team building the Regional Connector, a 1.9-mile underground light rail project in downtown Los Angeles that will connect the Metro Blue, Gold and Expo lines.

Shea is part of a joint venture building the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project, which will connect the Metro Expo and Green light rail lines in the Crenshaw and Inglewood corridors.

Shea and Traylor worked on the large City of Los Angeles Northeast Interceptor Sewer tunnel.  

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New Purple Line Extension presentation provides construction timeline, other key info

The Purple Line Extension held a meeting with the Phase 1 advisory group last week. The Powerpoint presentation given by Metro is posted above with a ton of information on ongoing utility relocations, future construction activity and mitigation plans to keep noise at a minimum, as much as is possible, for those who live and work near the future subway [pdf here].

I’ve also pulled a few key slides to show below (but please see the entire presentation!!!). In particular, I know several readers asked for a construction timeline after Metro and the Federal Transit Administration last month signed a deal providing $2.1 billion in federal grants and loans to help fund the building of the project’s first phase, which is also funded by the half-cent Measure R sales tax increase approved by L.A. County voters in 2008.

The first phase of the Purple Line Extension will run for 3.9 miles between the existing Wilshire/Western station and Wilshire/La Cienega. There will be three new stations at Wilshire/La Brea, Wilshire/Fairfax and Wilshire/La Cienega. The project’s second and third phases will extend the Purple Line to downtown Beverly Hills, Century City, Westwood and the VA Hospital.

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The following slides describe the basic construction activities that will be taking place over the next nine years.

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There are also 10 slides on noise mitigation strategies. A couple of the key ones are below — but I highly encourage you to look at the entire presentation above for more info about this topic. Metro officials have emphasized to me time and again that while they are seeking extended work hours to get the project open in 2023, they are committed to keeping as much noise as is possible to a minimum, performing the most noisy tasks during the day or early evening and being respectful of surrounding neighborhoods.

Metro officials really want people to understand that a lot of the construction activity will be occurring below street level and out of view. The most disruptive activity is that which happens at street level — at the new station locations and Wilshire/Western where Metro has to open the ground to retrieve the tunnel boring machine and the extension must be connected to the existing Purple Line tracks. Those activities will be restricted by time and location.

As we’ve stated previously, Metro is seeking extended work hours in order to wrap up the surface work as quickly as can be done and then most of the station construction will occur below ground, beneath concrete decking.

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There is a wealth of information about the Purple Line Extension on the project’s home page on metro.net. You can receive updates on the project via Facebook and Twitter.

 

Service Advisory: expect minor delays on Expo Line this weekend due to Phase 2 construction

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Crews will work to relocate tracks so they can be used for Expo Line Phase 2.

The Expo Line Construction Authority will be conducting track integration work on Expo Line Phase 2 this weekend, which will result in minor delays on the Expo Line. Trains will share one track between Expo/La Brea and Culver City stations at various times between 7 a.m. and 5.p.m this Saturday and Sunday, May 17 and 18.

Over the weekend, crews will be working to relocate tracks so they can be used for the Phase 2 aerial structure over Venice Boulevard.

For live service updates, follow Metro on Twitter or check the Metro home page. You can also check out the latest construction photos on Expo Line Phase 2 in this previous post.

Metro currently has three rail projects under construction: the Crenshaw/LAX Line, the second phase of the Expo Line and the Gold Line Foothill Extension. Utility relocations on two more rail projects, the Regional Connector and Purple Line, are underway and heavy construction is expected to begin later this year on both. All are funded in part by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by L.A. County voters in 2008. 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.

Reminder: Crenshaw Boulevard closures begin tonight for construction of light rail line — here’s the detour map

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This it, folks: Major construction of the Crenshaw/LAX Line begins tonight. That means there will be street closures along Crenshaw Boulevard, as shown in the above map, in order to accommodate the work.

Please see this earlier Source post for more information about upcoming construction activities and bus stop relocations along Crenshaw Boulevard.

Below is a nice piece on construction of the Crenshaw/LAX Line done by the Los Angeles County Channel. There are some nice visuals for those who aren’t familiar with the Crenshaw Corridor.

Click here to visit the project website and here is the transcript from the web chat hosted by Metro on reddit earlier this week.

The Crenshaw/LAX Line is one of three Metro Rail projects currently under construction, joining the second phase of the Expo Line and the Gold Line Foothill Extension. The Regional Connector is ramping up toward major construction and the Metro Board is expected to select a contractor to build the Purple Line Extension project this summer. All five projects are funded in part by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by 68 percent of Los Angeles County voters in 2008. 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.

Major construction of Crenshaw/LAX Line to begin Friday; here is what you need to know

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Here is the news release from Metro:

Major construction will begin Friday, May 2 on Metro Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project starting with work on the underground stations on Crenshaw and Martin Luther King Jr. boulevards with a full street closure to implement a new traffic configuration.

Walsh/Shea Corridor Contractors (WSCC) will implement the new traffic configuration between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Stocker Street beginning at 10 p.m. on Friday, May 2, through 1 p.m. Saturday, May 3.

WSCC will place Crenshaw Boulevard k-rail (concrete barriers) on the eastside to separate the work area from the street traffic and re-stripe traffic lanes. Work is anticipated to last for 15 hours and will be done in two phases.

Phase 1

Southbound detour

Phase one will be from 10 p.m. Friday until 2 a.m. Saturday, diverting traffic between Jefferson Boulevard to Vernon Avenue. Motorists traveling southbound on Crenshaw Boulevard will be detoured left on Jefferson, right at Arlington, right at Vernon and left and back on to Crenshaw.

Phase 2

Northbound detour

Phase two will begin at 2 a.m. Saturday until 1 p.m. diverting traffic between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Stocker Street. Motorists traveling northbound on Crenshaw Boulevard will be detoured left on Stocker Street, right on Santa Rosalia Drive, right on Marlton Avenue, left on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and left on to Crenshaw Boulevard.

After the full street closure on Saturday, traffic will resume with two lanes in each direction. The bus stop located on the eastside of Crenshaw Boulevard will be temporarily relocated to the southeast corner of the intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard and Stocker Street.

There will be limited access to businesses during the night time activity, however, pedestrian access will be maintained as well as access to emergency vehicles.

The 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor Project is a light-rail line that will connect 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, park-ride lots, traction power substations and the acquisition of rail vehicles and maintenance equipment.

Following the closure WSCC will begin these construction activities: utility relocation, pile installation, street decking and excavation.

Construction of the underground stations is anticipated to last four years. However, the construction work will be done underground. Traffic lanes will be reconfigured but traffic will be maintained during the four years of construction.

 

And here is the project fact sheet:

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Here is information about changes to bus stops that begin to go into effect this month:

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And here is information about the live online chat about the project that is tonight at 6 p.m. on reddit:

Metro Sponsors Live Chat at reddit.com to Discuss Crenshaw/LAX Line Project Construction, Upcoming Traffic Impacts

Metro is inviting the community, residents, business owners and motorists to learn about upcoming construction activities such as implementing a new traffic configuration around the future Crenshaw/Expo and Crenshaw/MLK stations starting in May during an internet chat scheduled on Tuesday, April 29, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at http://www.reddit.com/r/MetroLosAngeles/

Hosting the live chat will be project director Charles Beauvoir, who will provide detailed information on the first full street closures and options for pedestrians, motorists, business owners and general public.

The 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project is a $2.058 billion light rail that will connect Metro’s Expo and Green Lines with eight new stations.

The full street closure is needed to implement traffic rerouting for the upcoming construction activities such as utility relocation, pile installation, decking and excavation.

Crenshaw Boulevard will be closed between Martin Luther King Jr. and Stocker Street from 10 p.m. on Friday, May 2, through 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 3, as work begins on the Crenshaw/MLK underground station.

On Friday, May 16, the second full street closure has been scheduled on Crenshaw Boulevard between Exposition Boulevard and Rodeo Place.

When the Crenshaw/LAX line opens to the public in 2019 passengers and customers will be able to travel to work, medical care, entertainment, shopping, school and other activities all over the entire Los Angeles region. It also will help revitalize the local and regional economy.

For more information on this project visit metro.net/crenshaw. To post live questions during the chat or e-mail advance questions, go to CrenshawCorridor@metro.net.

Those who don’t have computer access but wish to send their questions in advance should contact the project hot line at (213) 922-2736 and leave a message or if they want to participate during the live chat from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., call (213) 922-4601.

 

And, finally, here is information about an upcoming open house on May 14 about business opportunities on the Crenshaw/LAX Line project.

 

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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:

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About 135 trees to eventually be removed for Purple Line Extension

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Mexican fan palms to be removed near the future Wilshire/La Cienega station in Beverly Hills.

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Plane trees in the city of Los Angeles to be removed for subway construction.

As we move deeper into the era of construction for Measure R projects, we’re also going to be writing more about the inevitable work impacts of building transit and road projects.

And thus today’s news: about 135 trees — about 34 in Beverly Hills and 101 in the city of Los Angeles — will eventually have to be removed and later replaced along Wilshire Boulevard to accommodate work on the first phase of the Purple Line Extension subway.

Most of the trees to be removed are in the area where three new stations will be excavated: Wilshire and La Brea, Wilshire and Fairfax and Wilshire and La Cienega. Metro says it will plant two trees for every one that is removed.

The bulk of the tree removals are still about a year away and will be managed by the future contractor. However, in the next month or so, Metro is seeking to remove two Mexican fan palms from the median of Wilshire just east of Detroit (near the Wilshire/La Brea station site) for pre-construction work — specifically, fiber optic utility relocation. The agency has also submitted draft Master Tree Removal Plans to both Beverly Hills and Los Angeles and will work with both cities toward agreement on a final plan.

Of the trees to be removed, many are not in good shape and Metro officials say likely would not survive transplanting. None of the trees are protected, historically significant or belong to threatened species, although some of the Mexican fan palms to be removed are taller than 50 feet (Mexican Fan palms are a very common tree planted in cities in warm weather locales in the U.S.).

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Transportation headlines, Thursday, March 20

Have a transportation-related article you think should be included in headlines? Drop me an email! And don’t forget, Metro is on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. Pick your social media poison! 

Just in case anyone needs help with their bracket, here's mine. Copy at your own risk!

Just in case anyone needs help with their bracket, here’s mine. Copy at your own risk!

Construction concerns over LA subway (NBC 4)

The segment on the Purple Line Extension suggests that Metro is seeking to perform work on the subway 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

To clarify: Metro has one application currently before the Los Angeles Police Commission for construction work on the first phase of the Purple Line Extension. It asks for a six month extension of a permit that expires April 17 for utility relocation night work from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. with the stipulation that the noisiest work be performed before 11 p.m. The work would be done five nights at week — Monday through Friday at Wilshire/La Brea and Sunday through Thursday for Wilshire/Fairfax.

Metro has also met with the Police Commission to discuss an upcoming application for station box pile drilling work in 2015, which would be done between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. This work will occur after all the utility relocation has been completed.

UPDATE, MORE INFORMATION: In January, Metro submitted three applications to the Police Commission to allow night-time work involving noise at Wishire and Western, Wilshire and LaBrea and Wilshire and Fairfax that would include pile installation, street decking and yard work at those locations beginning in August 2014. Metro has asked the Commission to not act on that request while the agency worked on providing more details. Metro is currently working on resubmitting these applications.

Interested readers may want to review the project’s Construction Fact Sheet for more information on how this will all occur.

The plan that could finally free New York City from traffic congestion (The Atlantic Cities) 

The group Move New York is proposing a congestion pricing plan for Manhattan that toll all bridges and tunnels (some are and some aren’t currently) and impose a toll on motorists heading into Manhattan south of 60th Street. Traffic is always a big issue in New York, but doing anything about it is politically difficult. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg pursued congestion pricing. When that fell through, a federal grant instead went to Metro, which used the funds to start the ExpressLanes on the 10 and 110 freeways.

LAPD seeking suspects in DASH bus shooting (L.A. Times) 

A woman and boy were wounded either when they were grazed by a bullet or by shattered glass at 42nd and Avalon in South L.A. early Wednesday evening. An accompanying photo shows the boy standing and getting treatment for his injuries.

First poll on L.A. sales tax hike for street and sidewalk repairs (KABC 7)

A proposed half-cent sales tax increase in the city of Los Angeles for street and sidewalk repair was supported by 40 percent of those surveyed by Channel 7 while 55 percent said they would against an increase. Such an increase would need two-thirds support for passage. The City Council has until July to decide whether to put a proposed increase to voters on the November ballot.

California still failing to invest in sustainable transportation choices (NRDC)

The environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council takes a closer look at projects to be considered for funding by the California Transportation Commission. And the group doesn’t like what it sees, with the majority of money going to road projects at a time when walking, biking and transit use in the state has increased.

 

Reminder: Metro hosting community meetings this Thursday to discuss ongoing and future work on Wilshire/La Cienega station

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Metro is holding a pair of community meetings on Feb. 13 to discuss utility relocation and other work that needs to be done in preparation for construction of the Purple Line Extension’s Wilshire/La Cienega station.

Metro has a “Master Cooperative Agreement” with the city of Los Angeles that governs how Metro and the city will work together during subway construction, including each parties’ responsibilities, timelines and how Metro will reimburse the city for its time.

Metro is hoping to also get such an agreement with Beverly Hills. In the meantime, the Beverly Hills City Council has required that they review each permit request. The Feb. 13 meetings are being held to help inform the public about the work that needs to be done.