$112 Million to Be Spent on Aesthetic Upgrade for LAX

Officials at Los Angeles International Airport have announced plans for a $112-million beautification project that will feature a circle of towering, graffiti-proof pillars and the huge letters “LAX” at the main entry.

Calling it the first aesthetic upgrade since the 1984 Olympics, Mayor Richard J. Riordan and airport officials said the improvements would forever secure the airport’s status as a “sophisticated, world-class landmark.” The work, scheduled for completion in 2001 and funded by parking and concession fees, will include landscaping, improved signage and lighting, and a new public address system.

But even as officials hailed the project as a long-awaited improvement with a potential to create jobs, some airport neighbors said the last thing LAX needs is a face lift.

El Segundo Mayor Mike Gordon, who heads a coalition of cities opposed to airport expansion, said Wednesday that funds would be better spent on reducing traffic congestion around LAX.


“There are a lot more important issues that need to be addressed before they start planting flowers there,” Gordon said.

The project has been dubbed “Gateway LAX” and is scheduled to begin in January. Its most visible feature will stand at the airport’s main entryway, the intersection of Century and Sepulveda boulevards. Sixteen 10-story columns, all white, will be installed in a circular pattern and illuminated with multicolored lights. Three 40-foot-tall letters spelling LAX will stand in front of the columns. Each column will be protected by thick, tempered glass.

Officials say that all work will be done during nighttime and off-peak hours to reduce traffic problems.