CULVER CITY — Construction of the incoming Expo Light Rail is now 80 percent complete.
Earlier this month, Phase 1 of the Expo line — which runs from Culver City to Downtown Los Angeles and opened in April of 2012 — was connected to Phase 2, which will end in Downtown Santa Monica.
Crews tied together electrical component of Phase 2 with the under-construction Phase 1 at the Culver City station on Nov. 8. The tie-ins were expected to be completed this weekend.
“Crews worked throughout the weekend to pull the wire and fiber optic cable from Phase 2 into Phase 1 and route it into the Communications and Systems building at Culver City Station,” Expo officials said in a release. “The existing dead-end Overhead Catenary System poles and bumper posts were removed so that rail equipment can travel onto the Venice Boulevard Bridge and along the rest of the Phase 2 alignment when it opens.”
Expo officials say the construction project remains on-schedule to be completed by next year, though many have speculated that it may be ahead of schedule.
Outgoing L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky told the audience of January’s State of the City address that Expo was under budget and ahead of schedule. It could open earlier than projected, he said at the time.
The lack of rain during this record-level drought has made things easier for construction teams, Expo officials have acknowledged.
A current union dispute surrounding Japanese rail car manufacturer Kinki Sharyo could hinder timely delivery of new cars, Gaby Collins, Exposition Construction Authority government and community relations manager told the Daily Press last month.
Metro, not Expo, is the handling that issue.
“Sticking to our schedule and having no trains available would be a big issue for the project,” she said in October.
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.
“We’re pleased to bring these two lines together and take the next step towards finishing Expo Phase 2 and connecting downtown to Santa Monica,” Rick Thorpe, CEO of the Exposition Construction Authority said earlier this week. “We remain focused on completing construction in 2015.”
Sections of Colorado Boulevard, and other city streets, have been closed intermittently for months.
The worst of the road closures, city officials have said, are likely behind us.
Three stations will open in Santa Monica with the terminus station located at Fourth and Colorado.