Expo Line Construction Makes Its Way To The Beach - New York News

Expo Line Construction Makes Its Way To The Beach

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Santa Monica, CA -

(FOX 11) For years I've thought about that billion-dollar 405 car pool lane expansion through the Sepulveda Pass as a big ticket item. Don't get me wrong -- it is. In fact, it just went up to $1.1 billion recently with cost overruns.

But, how about that Expo line? 15.2 miles of light rail at 2.4 billion?

Construction was split into two phases. Phase One stretches from downtown LA to Culver City. That was completed earlier this year and is carrying, according to Metro, about 22,000 passengers a day. Phase two is from Culver City to Santa Monica. It's currently under construction. 

I spent some time this week with the project's construction manager, Rob Fonkalsrud, and others from contractor SKANSKA. Phase Two involves 7 miles of rail. What's the latest on Phase Two? They updated me:

1) The project is 30% complete.

2) Plans are for it to be ready for rail testing by 2015 and operation a short time later.

3) The project is on budget and on-schedule.

4) Seven bridges are in the process of "going up" which creates all kinds of challenges for people who live and drive in the areas of these structures.

5) Complaints are what you might expect ranging from concerns over noice to bad traffic.

6) Noise mitigation procedures, especially at night, include the use of "sound blankets" are being used to bring down the decibel level for those who live in nearby homes. They also disable backup warning alarms on trucks and other construction vehicles which are replaced with people controlling equipment traffic with safety flags.

7) 8 stations are being constructed. Some of these are on these bridges like the one that spans Bundy Drive. Bundy bridge work started about 4 weeks ago. There are 8 more months to go to bridge completion. The bridges are in varying states of progress.

Much of Phase two involves an area previously used decades ago for LA's Red Car. Because of that, Fonkalsrud says, most of the complaints come in the areas where they are building bridges and interfacing with traffic.

How much does a contractor like SKANKA get for this kind of construction work? In this case $550 million. This is a company that has built tunnels in New York and Europe. It's a huge company with 55,000 employees worldwide.

We'll continue to follow the progress of the EXPO line on FOX 11 and here on myfoxla.com.

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