Heavy construction starts on Bob Hope Airport transit center

Construction crews on Thursday are scheduled to begin work on driving deep foundation supports into the ground that will eventually hold up the new transit center at Bob Hope Airport.

When completed, the 520,000-square-foot, $112.6-million project will bring together rail and bus lines with rental car facilities and connect passengers to the airport terminal via a 19-foot-high elevated and covered walkway.

Officials broke ground on the project in July.

Crews will drive 875 steel support beams, known as piles, 65 feet into the ground through December six days a week, according to an announcement this week from the airport.

Weekday hours of operation will 7 a.m. up to 7 p.m., and on Saturdays, 8 a.m. up to 5 p.m. The vibrations of the pile-driving operation will be “barely noticeable” within a roughly 100-yard circumference and is not anticipated to cause any structural issues for nearby buildings, according to the airport.

[Updated Sept. 20: An earlier version of the airport's announcement said weekday operations could run until 8 p.m. That limit is actually 7 p.m.]

The project will be funded through $82.7 million in bonds, passenger and customer charges, federal grants and other funds.

The transportation center -- which officials say will not only make using the airport easier for commuters, but be an example of how regional public transit can connect to make the system more relevant -- is scheduled to open in summer 2014.

-- Jason Wells, Times Community News

Follow Jason Wells on Google+ and on Twitter: @JasonBretWells

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