Culver City Edition

Congressman takes tour of Expo Line with builders

LOS ANGELES — Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Los Angeles, joined officials from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Skanska USA Civil Aug. 11, to tour the recently completed Exposition Light Rail Transit Phase 2 project, which extended service from Culver City to Santa Monica.

The National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association coordinated the event.

The project tour began at La Cienega/Jefferson Station where Phil Washington, chief executive of the MTA, and Brian Freund, vice president of operations at Skanska USA Civil, gave a presentation.

Phase 2 of the Metro Expo Line project is 6.6 miles long and connects Santa Monica by rail to downtown Los Angeles and the rest of the 105-mile MTA rail system that extends to the San Fernando Valley, the San Gabriel Valley, the South Bay, Long Beach and many points in between.

Major construction began in 2012 and was completed in 2016. The Exposition Construction Authority awarded the design-build contract for Phase 2 to Skanska-Rados Joint Venture in March 2011 and the project opened May 20, 2016.

Expo 2 included the addition of seven stations — two aerial, four at grade and one elevated. Systems and electrical work included a low-profile overhead catenary system, train control and signals, crossing protection, traction power and communications.

The project’s urban location required extensive planning to accommodate motor vehicles, transit riders, pedestrians and cyclists. Outreach efforts identified noise as a primary concern for residents and high profile theaters and recording studios near the tracks.

As a result, a system was installed to mitigate vibration and noise emitted by light rail vehicles, the first installed in the United States. Beyond the challenge of meeting community needs, Expo 2 also met numerous technical challenges to become the first transit project in the United States to receive Envision Platinum certification from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure.

Lieu focused his remarks on the need for continued investment in rail transit systems.

“It was a pleasure to see firsthand the completed Expo 2 line, which connects many diverse neighborhoods in my district from Santa Monica to downtown L.A.,” Lieu said. “The project demonstrates the value of supporting transportation infrastructure investments.”

“The Expo Line is the MTA’s second busiest light-rail line in terms of ridership and our agency’s first project to receive the Envision Platinum certification,” Washington said. “It continues our track record of building projects that are not only successful but showcase our commitment to sustainability.”

“We believe this project shows how a transit project can have benefits beyond mobility,” Freund of Skanska USA Civil said. “This project provided work for a significant number of local, traditionally under-utilized businesses and trade workers while also showing the benefit of design-build delivery for the tax-paying community.”

The group discussed the need to increase budget allocations for domestic discretionary investments and, more specifically, transportation infrastructure investments. They also emphasized the importance of the Capital Investment Grants Program and the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Grant Program that support rail infrastructure investment as well as transportation, housing, and urban development goals.