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Airport people mover project hits milestone

LOS ANGELES — Column construction for the Automated People Mover project at Los Angeles International Airport has started, airport officials report.

The first columns, located inside the airport’s Central Terminal Area, will support the future East Central Terminal Area’s Station. 

“With the first columns rising above the Central Terminal Area, we can see a reimagined LAX taking shape,” said Justin Erbacci, interim chief executive officer of the airport. “Now that we have gone vertical with our construction, we can experience that our transformation is underway, and we are excited to see the progress each and every day.”

Elevated approximately 68 feet above the ground and spanning Center Way, the east station will connect to Terminal 7 and Parking Structure 1 via elevated pedestrian bridges. From a dedicated viewing area located on the west end of the station, passengers can enjoy views of the Theme Building, an iconic example of Googie architecture, which is a style of futurist architecture that originated in Los Angeles. 

One of three stations located inside the Central Terminal Area, the East Station will be located just a short ride to the new Intermodal Transportation Facilities and the Consolidated Rent-A-Car Facility.

The developer on the APM project, LAX Integrated Express Solutions, began foundation work at the site in October with the construction of cast-in-drilled hole piles. Following the completion of the piles, construction of the columns began. 

To construct the columns, a crane lifts the steel reinforcement cage into place and concrete is then piped in to bring the construction to grade. Formwork is then erected around the reinforcement cage to prepare for the column’s concrete placement. Once the concrete has cured, the formwork is disassembled, leaving a finished column.

“For a project of this scale and magnitude, there is a tremendous amount of work that must be done before vertical construction starts,” said Sharon Gookin, project director for LAX Integrated Express Solutions. “The completion of the first station columns is an exciting milestone for everyone working on the project.” 

As columns are completed, falsework is being erected at the site. Falsework refers to a construction technique in which temporary structures are erected to support a permanent structure until its construction is sufficiently advanced to support itself. Constructed out of reusable and recyclable steel and lumber and designed to support up to 250,000 pounds, the Automated People Mover falsework will support the formwork for the guideway as the concrete cures and reaches prescribed strength.  

The Automated People Mover, a 2.25-mile elevated electric train system that will transport travelers in and out of the Central Terminal Area, is the centerpiece of the Landside Access Modernization Project. The people mover will feature six stations: three stations inside the Central Terminal Area, which connect to the terminals via elevated pedestrian walkways, and three stations outside the Central Terminal Area, which will connect to new off-site parking facilities, regional light rail transportation and the Consolidated Rent-A-Car Facility. Scheduled to open for passenger service in 2023, the Automated People Mover is expected to relieve congestion within the Central Terminal Area and in turn the surrounding thoroughfares, thereby reducing emissions and vehicle miles traveled. 

Wave Staff Report