Metro recommends contractor (and $160 million more) for Crenshaw Line
Transportation officials are seeking an additional $160 million for the Crenshaw Line light-rail construction budget, bringing the project’s estimated cost to more than $2 billion, according to a staff report issued Friday by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
The report also recommends awarding the $1.27-billion Crenshaw Line contract to Walsh/Shea Corridor Constructors. Of the four bids considered, it was the cheapest and had the highest technical score.
The Metro board will vote on the contract proposal later this month. If the contract is approved, as Metro staff expects, it will be a major step for a project that has been in the works—and in the news—for more than four years.
The 8.5-mile line will run through South L.A. and connect the Expo Line to the Green Line. Since the line was announced, activists urged officials to fully fund a stop in Leimert Park Village, Southern California’s hub of African American culture. Last month, the Los Angeles City Council and the Metro board approved $120 million for that purpose.
“With the Crenshaw Line, Leimert Park will become part of a larger expanding network of rail lines,” Metro CEO Art Leahy told the Times on Friday.
The Crenshaw Line is partially funded by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax Los Angeles County voters passed in 2008. When major construction begins along the Crenshaw Line next year, it will be one of five major rail projects simultaneously under construction in the county. It’s expected to open in 2019.
“I look forward to…the future impact this project will have in easing congestion, spurring economic development and contributing to a cleaner environment,” L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said in a statement. “This county deserves and needs a solid transportation system, and it will be done right.”
The additional $160 million in the budget will act as financial padding for unexpected construction expenses, said K.N. Murthy, Metro’s executive director of transit project delivery.
Metro staff proposes moving funding from other local transportation projects, including $10.2 million from bus-related improvements along Wilshire Boulevard and $47.5 million from the proposed people-mover to Los Angeles International Airport.
The Crenshaw Line’s budget is larger than the $1.27-billion contract because there are additional costs for planning, buying land and adding train cars and a rail maintenance yard.
The contract does not include funding to convert the light-rail to a tunnel in a one-mile stretch of tracks through Park Mesa Heights.
Studies have shown light-rail is safe and fitting in that area, Metro has said, and $250 million to dig would be too expensive. Activists, using the cry “It’s not over ‘til it’s under,” have said the train would be unsafe for schoolchildren nearby.
Dallas-based Walsh Construction has worked on other transportation projects in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The company jointly holds the $2-billion modernization contract for the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX.
J.F. Shea Construction helped build the Golden Gate Bridge and the Hoover Dam and is currently working on the Second Avenue Subway in New York City.
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