Expo Line hit with another setback

The long-delayed Expo Line was recently dealt another setback when authorities revoked a permit that allowed construction 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Authorities said they revoked the permit last week because of complaints about noise during late-night construction on the line.

The move could further delay construction, which is already more than a year behind schedule, and add to the $862-million price tag to complete the first segment from downtown Los Angeles to Culver City.


That cost has already grown by more than $220 million over the project’s original budget of $640 million. The line is planned to eventually reach Santa Monica.

Richard Tefank, executive director of the Los Angeles Police Commission, which has jurisdiction to issue variances to the noise ordinance in the city of Los Angeles, said the 24-hour permit on one section of the line was revoked after an investigation into noise complaints in some of the surrounding neighborhoods.

“The majority of people [investigators] spoke with indicated that the noise was disruptive for them, impacting their quality of life,” Tefank said, adding that one investigator visited surrounding neighborhoods at 2 a.m. one evening and heard loud disruptions.

Without the 24-hour permit, construction is allowed between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends and holidays.

Richard Thorpe, chief executive of the Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority, the organization responsible for getting the line built, said he was surprised when the commission revoked the 24-hour permit and that it was important to speed up construction.

In a letter to Police Commission President John Mack, Thorpe wrote that the authority had taken several steps to curb noise during nighttime construction and was instructing the project’s contractor to request the authority’s permission before doing night work.

Thorpe and Tefank met Wednesday to discuss the project, nighttime construction and noise complaints from area residents.

Tefank said they came to an agreement that the Expo authority would submit 30-day construction plans to the commission, outlining when and where nighttime work is needed and why at those times, and the efforts made to reach out to area residents and mitigate noise. If the authority wants to close down entire intersections or streets over a weekend, that must be a separate request.

Based on the plans, Tefank will decide whether to issue a temporary variance for each 30-day period or weekend closure request.

“We understand the necessity to complete the project, but as we clearly mentioned to them, our interest is for the community’s ability to have peace and quiet, as much as can be when you’re having this type of construction,” Tefank said.