Expo Phase I Opening Delayed Again, Opening Likely in 2012

The bikeway between La Cienega and Washington Blvd. Thanks, Curbed.

As recently as August of last year, the Expo Construction Authority was dropping hints that Phase I of the Expo Line would be open by now.  Instead, the delays that have hampered the project from the beginning have continued as the Line moves towards its elusive opening date.

Yesterday, another delay was announced.

Longtime Expo supporter Gökhan Esirgen reported that FCI/Fluor/Parsons (the contractor team for most of Phase I of the Expo Line) sent a notice to Expo Authority stating that the projected substantial completion, that is the completion of all construction work, was delayed by two more months to August 23, 2011.

Delaying of the substantial completion by two months at this point makes the earlier reported November opening for the Expo Line less likely. If everything goes very well and if the testing is sped up, it might still be possible to open the line to La Cienega in November, but given the history of new delays appearing and the chance of encountering problems during testing, 2012 seems a more likely option.

There is a silver lining for those anxiously awaiting Expo’s opening.  Karen Leonard, the Chair of Light Rail for Cheviot and Hello Expo, writes “Too bad, we’re all waiting!  But maybe now the line can be opened all the way to Culver City when the two contractors complete their segments – one testing sequence and one opening ought to be more efficient.”

Friends for Expo’s Darrell Clarke agrees, stating succinctly, “Opening all at once to Culver City could be good.”

Esirgen also agrees that a full opening for Phase I in 2012 is likely.  “Since the Culver City Station is being built by a different contractor (Balfour Beatty Infrastructure and Balfour Beatty Rail) and it’s ahead of schedule, it’s now a possibility that it might be more practical to open the line to Culver City as a whole, instead of having two openings within a month or two.”

Audio for the Expo Construction Authority Board Meeting can be found here. The portion of the meeting pertaining to the new delays, starts at 13:40.

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