The five-story transportation center being built in Glendale is
growing to new heights, but not without one specific growing pain
that has slowed the project about five months.
Officials expect that construction of the new Los Angeles Regional
Transportation Management Center will be completed by the first of
the year, but it will take another six months to get the facility
fully wired for computers and other equipment to be installed and for
workers to move in, officials said.
The project is about five months behind schedule, primarily
because of a shortage in steel needed for the project, officials said
The new 88,000-square-foot transportation hub is sandwiched
between the Ventura (134) and Glendale (2) freeways at 2901 W.
The facility will house the Caltrans Transportation Management
Center, which monitors traffic flow on Los Angeles and Ventura county
freeways, and will also house the California Highway Patrol's
dispatch services. The two are headquartered in downtown Los Angeles.
"Aside from the large amounts of concrete that was needed to lay
the foundation for this building on such a large slope, we also
needed a lot of steel for all the steel studs and rebar being placed
inside," CHP Officer Mark Firkins said. "But we have had problems
getting all the steel we need because of a steel shortage."
In March 2002, President George W. Bush announced tariffs of up to
30% on imported steel in an effort to shore up the long-declining
Underneath the building, 26 large cylindrical beams, made of a
mixture of rubber and steel, provide support and necessary
flexibility that would allow the building to move 30 inches laterally
during an earthquake, officials said.
"These rubber base isolators move like a deck of cards, up to 30
inches laterally, in the event of an earthquake," Firkins said. "This
building can withstand an earthquake with a magnitude of up to 8.0."
A 180-foot radio communications tower has been installed next to
the building and was inspected last week. Large retaining walls
between the building and the freeways are complete, Firkins said.
The center will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week to
provide up-to-the-minute traffic information for drivers.
Thousands of loop sensors buried under roadways will relay
information to the center about traffic patterns. More than 400
cameras mounted above freeways will give employees a visual picture
of road conditions.
Caltrans workers will be able to control the flow of traffic by
manipulating traffic- signal timing on freeway onramps and surface
streets that are state routes, officials said.
"In terms of wiring and facilities and what we need to run a
modern organization, the new facility is what we need," said Judy
Gish, a Caltrans spokeswoman. "This is about three times the size of
the facility we have now."
Once completed, more than 240 employees will work around the clock
at the center. Most will be stationed in the CHP 911 call center.
"As the population of Los Angeles County increases, this facility
will become more and more important," Firkins said. "The two
organizations will be better able to expedite our resources. We can
just walk over and talk to people we need to talk to and not have to
worry about leaving messages, and we can observe incidents better and
more effectively manage our 911 operations."