CITYWIDE — Temperatures spiked into the 90s this past weekend, and while the October heat wave did nothing to help the current drought, the dry skies have kept construction of Phase Two of the Expo line from Culver City to Santa Monica on track.
Gaby Collins, Exposition Construction Authority government and community relations manager, said project construction is 70 percent complete, with a goal of finishing in Summer 2015.
“It hasn’t been raining lately, which helps with any construction project,” she said. “Right now there’s a lot of street improvement work going on which would have to be rescheduled if there were any issues with rain delays.”
At a community meeting Sept. 16, Expo announced station construction is more than 63 percent complete, with track installation scheduled to finish this fall. All seven bridges are done, and downtown Santa Monica will see ongoing foundation and utility work through December.
Santa Monicans can expect to navigate an upcoming Sixth Street closure from about Oct. 27 to Nov. 5, Collins said, as they finish laying track.
“That last track crossing is a big milestone,” she said.
Next year will bring more roadway improvements, but also landscape installation and a focus on system testing and safety checks. The project consists of seven new stations across a 6.6-mile corridor at a cost of $1.5 billion. The predicted travel time from downtown to Santa Monica is 46 minutes.
“Everything is on track,” Collins said. “We’re doing a big push right now to finish working on street improvements and crossings.”
A current union dispute surrounding Japanese rail car manufacturer Kinkisharyo could hinder timely delivery of new cars, but Collins said Metro is the one handling that issue.
“Sticking to our schedule and having no trains available would be a big issue for the project,” she said.
Contractor testing for the line could begin as early as January 2015, Collins said. After construction is complete, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority will conduct three to six months of testing and set an opening date.
“It depends how it all comes together this fall, but then we can really pull the trigger on the testing phase,” Collins said.
For more information on Phase 2 construction, visit www.buildexpo.org.