Culver City Edition Lead Story West Edition

Construction begins on MTA rail yard near airport

LOS ANGELES — Construction began May 27 on a $172 million facility to maintain light rail cars that will be used on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s planned connection to Los Angeles International Airport.

The Southwest Yard near LAX is set to be completed in 2019, in time for the planned 2020 opening of the Crenshaw line extension to the airport, and around the time that a people mover will be completed to connect LAX directly with the rail line.

County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who also chairs the MTA board, said the Southwest Yard “will allow [the MTA] to safely and efficiently maintain the vehicles that will finally connect the growing rail network to LAX.”

The Southwest Yard will have the capacity to store 70 light rail vehicles and will consist of a main shop, a washing facility, a cleaning platform, a material storage building and a wheel truing shop. The facility can be later expanded as the MTA’s rail fleet grows.

“The 200 people to be employed here will be working in a state-of-the art facility designed to keep our new system in a state of good repair,” MTA CEO Phillip Washington said.

The yard is being designed and constructed with “green” features including bicycle parking, designated parking for low-emitting, fuel-efficient and carpool/vanpool vehicles and electric vehicle charging. More than 20 percent of construction materials will consist of recycled content.

As California remains in a persistent drought, the yard also will feature a system to capture and re-use water for vehicle washing, water efficient plumbing fixtures and fittings to reduce water consumption by 40 percent and drought-tolerant plans for the landscaping.

The Southwest Yard has facilities for general administration and employee welfare, transportation, miscellaneous maintenance shops and equipment housing and storage. The track configuration and site layout support safe and effective rail vehicle movements for “switching” between functional facilities and storage tracks and between the Maintenance and Operations Facility and mainline tracks.

The design and construction contract for the project was awarded to a joint venture by Helsel Phelps and Herzog, and is funded by revenues from the Measure R half-cent sales tax passed by county voters in 2008.