A crew works on the Expo Light Rail Line. (Daniel Archuleta)
A crew works on the Expo Light Rail Line. (Daniel Archuleta)

CITYWIDE – Stand out on one of the many of intersections where workers are installing track for a long enough period of time and you’ll hear the boom or scrape of a car bottoming out.

Much has been written of the occasional road closures and ensuing traffic jams caused by the construction from incoming Expo Light Rail but what about damage to vehicles?

Apparently damage is rare, or at least rarely reported.

As of earlier this month, only six claims have been filed by drivers who said their cars were damaged in Santa Monica as a result of the construction, according to Samantha Bricker, the chief operating officer of the Exposition Construction Authority.

Of those six claims, four were paid out and two were denied.

Bricker said that the contractor, Skanska Rados, takes steps to limit auto claims.

In general, damage near construction sites are caused by stray nails or other debris that pierce tires.

Crews apparently check the construction areas regularly, both during and after every work shift, to make sure that streets and sidewalks are clear of debris, Bricker said.

Steel plates are placed over open trenches to protect pedestrians and drivers as they pass through construction zones. The plates are nearly flush with the street and secured with temporary asphalt. This keeps them from coming loose but also serves as a buffer for potential tire punctures.

Skanska Rados also puts in crash cushions and cones to keep pedestrians and drivers protected from the construction zones.

“Long-term and short-term signage is placed throughout the corridor,” Bricker said in an e-mail, “to delineate construction zones, driving or parking impacts and timeframes so commuters and pedestrians are clearly warned about changes/impacts are able make safe and informed decisions about where to drive or walk.”

The first phase of the Expo line, stretching from Downtown Los Angeles to Culver City, opened April of 2012. The second phase, which will tie into three stops in Santa Monica, is slated to open in late 2015 or early 2016.



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