Despite a new reality shaped by the pandemic, construction activity continues to thrive in Los Angeles where developers are moving ahead with major infrastructure improvements that are transforming the city.
Flagship projects underway include the expansion of transit connectivity, the replacement of an aging viaduct and a massive improvement program at Los Angeles International Airport.
- THE LAX LANDSIDE ACCESS MODERNIZATION PROGRAM (LAMP)
The $5.5 billion program aimed at improving ground access to Los Angeles International Airport is well underway after nearly a decade of planning and site preparation work. LAMP includes five elements: the $2 billion automated people mover (APM); the $1 billion Consolidated Rent-A-Car facility; two Intermodal Transportation facilities (ITFs) totaling $220 million; and roadway improvements.
Development has progressed recently, with workers taking advantage of lower passenger and vehicle volume to expedite work without impacting airport operations, said Jake Adams, program executive for LAMP. “Prior to the pandemic, work in the LAX Central Terminal Area only took place at night, but we have been able to work multiple shifts to continue the construction progress. Our ITF-West facility will open this summer, while the remaining elements are slated to be completed in 2023,” Adams revealed. Future plans include connecting the APM with a $500 million light rail transit hub.
- THE METRO PURPLE (D LINE) EXTENSION
The much-anticipated Purple Line—renamed the D Line—subway transit project is considered “the most complex engineering feat in the modern history of LA Metro Rail construction … traveling through some of LA County’s most densely urbanized neighborhoods and underneath some of the most challenging geologic conditions,” according to Dave Sotero, Metro communications manager.
The multibillion-dollar project is split into three sections, with the first two segments already underway. The 7-mile extension will include seven stations along Miracle Mile, Beverly Hills, Century City and Westwood, with the sections expected to open in 2023, 2025 and 2027, one year prior to the 2028 Summer Olympics. Last year, Metro was able to expedite some construction work in Beverly Hills by taking advantage of low traffic due to COVID-19 restrictions. Once complete, the extension will fill a critical gap in Metro Rail service, connecting the region with downtown LA and beyond. Travel between downtown and Westwood on the new line is projected to take about 25 minutes.
Metro continues work on other transit projects to increase regional connectivity, including the 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX Line, which broke ground in 2014 and is now approaching completion. The $2.1 billion project will feature eight new stations and will extend light rail transit service from Metro’s Expo Line to the Green Line.
- THE SIXTH STREET VIADUCT REPLACEMENT PROJECT
The $588 million project led by the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering is considered the largest bridge project in the history of Los Angeles. Stretching across the LA River, the bridge replaces the original seismically deficient structure that was built in 1932.
The ongoing project is creating hundreds of jobs, adding to the economy of central Los Angeles and its neighbors. Developers started work on the new bridge in 2015, demolition of the old viaduct was completed in 2016, and final completion is expected in 2022. Spanning 3,500 feet between downtown LA and Boyle Heights, the new Sixth Street Viaduct will be accompanied by a 12-acre park that will provide access to the Los Angeles River, public art, and recreational programming.