LA Metro Capital Improvement Update

This past week I had the pleasure of listening to a webinar featuring Tim Lindholm, Senior Executive Officer of Project Management at Los Angeles Metro. His discussion revolved around small and medium Capital Projects, such as facilities, stations, and bridges. When asked how they had been functioning during the COVID-19 Pandemic, he said most of his 40 person staff communicated better virtually than they had prior. They worked more efficiently and transitioned quickly, even though it was harder to stay in constant contact. But the ray of sunlight came when he said that all Capital Projects at LA Metro were moving forward.
Due to the pandemic, with no one being able to be on the roads or streets, several LA Metro projects were able to be completed months faster than originally planned. For instance, with the closure of Wilshire Blvd., the Purple Line Extension, Section 2 project was able to be completed several months prior to the original completion date. There was a dramatic impact financially on the agency. Due to loss of sales tax, and toll and fare revenue down, they saw a dramatic impact financially with the loss of 100 million dollars per month. Projects that could be deferred or delayed would only be postponed for 3-6 months in order to adjust the cash-flow, but no projects have been canceled.
Lindholm spoke about a couple of projects that are continuing, including, Patsaouras Plaza Busway Station and Willow Brooks/Rosa Parks Station. Tim also shared Capital Improvement Projects that will soon come out to bid. The total cost of all of these projects will be roughly 2 billion dollars over the next 12 months. One of these many projects includes Rail to Rail. This project crosses 23 intersections in Los Angeles. It is an 8-mile Transportation Project (bike/pedestrian path) along the former BNSF Slauson Corridor. It connects the blue, silver, and future Crenshaw line. Rail to Rail is a Design/Bid/Build project with a ROM of $140 million and bids will begin in November of this year. Another project coming soon is the Eastside Access Project. This project will be federally funded and is combined with the Rail to Rail Project. The Eastside Access Project will include pedestrian/streetscape improvements to improve connections between the new Little Tokyo Station, Union Station, and the Arts District. It will also include Class 1 bike lanes, pedestrian promenade, enhanced crosswalks, lighting, and landscaping. The ROM for this project is about $25 million. A third project is the I-5 North Operational Improvements, which will improve I-5 in Santa Clarita Valley by adding carpool lanes, auxiliary lanes, truck lanes, walls, and bridges. The ROM for this project will be around $400-550 million dollars. This is also a Design/Bid/Build Project managed by Metro and bids for this project will begin in the Summer of 2020. Tim’s favorite project that he has been working on for the last four years is the Airport Metro Connector Station. This by far was the most difficult project to coordinate given that the Auto People Mover is located above it as well as the intricate design of the efficient and sustainable project. The Bids for this project will go out in three weeks. Tim couldn’t stress enough how important the private sector is to provide construction support services staffed by consultants. It goes without saying how important Union work is to the contribution of the overall project implementation.
Another segment of his presentation discussed Highway Projects Nearing Construction. These projects include:
  • I-210 Barrier Replacement (Bid October 2020)
  • I-605 South Streets (Bid December 2020)
  • I-710 South Soundwalls 2 and 3 (Bids Spring 2021)
  • Soundwall Package 10 (Bids Summer 2021)
  • I-605 Valley Blvd. (Bids Winter 2021)
  • I-605 Beverly (Bids Winter 2021)
  • SR-60 7th Avenue (Bids Summer 2022)
  • SR-91 Atlantic to Cherry (Bids Summer 2022)
Lindholm discussed another project, Orange Line BRT Improvements, that has never been done anywhere in the world. This will be the pilot project to show how they will build 34 gates. These improvements will include:
  • Railroad-Type Gates at 34 location
  • Aerial Stations and grade separations at Sepulveda & Van Nuys
  • Multi-modal connection to ESFV LRT Terminal Station on Van Nuys
  • Up to 16-minute savings in bus travel time
  • $286 Million Measure M Funding
  • D/B Grade Separations at Van Nuys and Sepulveda bids Winter 2020
  • D/B/B Gates bids Spring 2021
Tim also shared new BRT capital projects in planning, which include, NoHo to Pasadena, West San Fernando Valley, and Vermont. These three projects equal $3 billion dollars in BRT work. NoHo to Pasadena and West San Fernando Valley will both begin construction in 2022 and both open in 2025.
After Mr. Lindolm’s presentation, it was clear to me that LA Metro was able to look beyond the uncharted path of the COVID-19 Pandemic and continue to understand how vital infrastructure projects are to the community to continue safe mobility.