Report: Expo Phase II Will Open in 2015
Expo supporter Gökhan Esirgen attended a special meeting of the Westside Neighborhood Council last night featuring a presentation by the Expo Construction Authority. Esrigen sent an email afterwards to other supporters and media, which can be read after the jump, but here are some of the highlights of Expo’s presentation.
- Expo believes they can open the line all the way to 4th and Colorado by “early 2015”
- Two teams are bidding on construction. The winning bid will be announced at the February 2011 Board Meeting
- The Bike Path is a separate contract but construction will be coordinated with the light rail construction
- There’s still a lot of details to be worked out at crossings and involving parking
Given some of the delays that have plagued construction of Phase I, it’s hardly a sure bet that Phase II will be running smoothly five years from now. Still, for those Westsiders hungry for their first rail line, the end is in sight. Conversely, those hoping to block construction until the line can be built below-grade have a ticking clock to contend with.
Yes, guys, you heard it right. There was a lot of discussion around, some mentioning of memos by Metro pointing to opening dates in 2016 or even 2017. But tonight, at the WNC meeting, Expo officially announced that they are aiming for an early-2015 Phase 2 revenue-operations start to 4th and Colorado in Santa Monica.
The bids by the two competing teams will be announced at the December Expo board meeting. The winning team will be announced at the February 2011 board meeting. Notice to proceed will be issued in March and that’s when the final design and utility relocation will start.
It was said that the main risk for delay for the project would be third parties, such as the City or utility companies, not timely assigning permits or doing the necessary work.
Venice bridge will be a separate contract, not part of the contract that will be made with one of the two competing teams. It’s a possibility that Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, Inc, who are building the bridge east of Venice, will also build the bridge west of Venice. The construction of this bridge could start in a few months.
The bike and pedestrian path will also be a separate contract as well but it will be jointly coordinated with the LRT contract.
There was a lot of detailed discussion of the grade crossings, how much delay there will be, how the lights will be synchronized, how the queue cutters will work, etc. (The queue cutter at Overland is electromagnetic loops in the ground detecting cars and connected to a traffic signal at the pedestrian crossing north of the tracks, cutting the queue so that the cars don’t back up to the tracks).
Under the no-parking option, the tracks will be shifted to the south side of the 200-ft-wide right-of-way between Overland and Westwood and the 100-ft-wide area north of the tracks will be left as vacant land for whoever wants to build a park there in the future.
Because of the new relocation of the tracks (such as in the no-parking option), the contractor will restudy the sound impacts when they’re doing the final design.
Partial opening of Phase 2 (such as to Palms) is not a possibility. Testing was said to be very expensive and not worth for a mile-long segment. In addition the EIR didn’t study phased openings. Last but not least, there are concerns that partial openings will delay the final opening to Santa Monica.
Virtually no one showed up from NFSR, certainly none of their leaders. Apparently their lawyers advised them not to interact with the Expo Authority.