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Another delay pushes Expo Line opening to late 2011

A September report projects a 50-week delay in opening the 8.6-mile light-rail system from downtown L.A. to Culver City. The project is about half finished.

September 15, 2009|Dan Weikel

Though the Expo Line light-rail system from downtown Los Angeles to Culver City is about half finished, construction problems have pushed back completion of the project by another six weeks to almost a year.

Expo officials said they had planned to open the 8.6-mile line in 2010, but parts of the route would not be completed until the latter part of 2011. Earlier this year, the estimated delay was 44 weeks, a figure that has been revised to 50 weeks in a September report to the Expo Line Construction Authority board.

Officials attribute the additional six weeks of delay to the late completion of a bridge at National Boulevard, which set back construction of a bridge at Ballona Creek. Expo Chief Executive Richard Thorpe said there also have been complications involving sewer lines where the route crosses Jefferson Boulevard and La Brea Avenue.

The bulk of the delay has been attributed to the addition of a third aerial station that eliminated the need for an interim station and a controversy over pedestrian safety at Dorsey High School and the Foshay Learning Center. The California Public Utilities Commission eventually required improvements to a pedestrian tunnel at Foshay and a pedestrian bridge at Dorsey.

Thorpe said further delays have been caused by problems trying to lower power lines at La Brea and La Cienega Boulevard.

Though Expo officials say the project is still within its cost estimates, the September report states that "there are still outstanding issues that could pose a significant risk to the budget."

The $862-million line between downtown and Culver City broke ground in 2006. It will run from the 7th Street Metro Center to USC where it will turn onto Exposition Boulevard and proceed to Venice Boulevard and Robertson Avenue in Culver City.

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dan.weikel@latimes.com

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