Santa Monica Lookout
Santa Monica Braces for Expo Line Construction Starting Monday
By Jorge Casuso
February 12, 2013 -- As the Expo Light Rail line rolls closer to Santa Monica, motorists need to brace for major construction work starting next Monday, City officials said.
Colorado Avenue eastbound between 4th and 5th streets will shut down to pave the way for the construction of the Downtown train terminal and of the adjacent Colorado Esplanade.
The station, which will sit on the former Sears Automotive building site, will be the end of the line for the 15-mile light rail line extending from Downtown Los Angeles to Downtown Santa Monica, a 46-minute commute by rail.
In addition to the eastbound Downtown lane closure, Colorado Avenue between 2nd and 10th streets and between 14th and 17th streets will see both westbound and eastbound lane closures between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., as well as during daytime hours.
Motorists can also expect westbound and eastbound delays and lane closures during non-peak travel hours from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Olympic Boulevard between 20th Street and Cloverfield Boulevard.
The first passengers on the Expo Light Rail line arrived in Culver City last April, completing Phase I of a $2.5 billion project to connect Downtown LA to Downtown Santa Monica that has been two decades in the making.
Last year, crews were hard at work paving the way for the train’s arrival by relocating 1,200 linear feet of sewer lines along the Colorado Avenue thruway, and officials were busy designing concepts for the Downtown terminal.
City officials also unveiled preliminary designs for the Colorado Esplanade that turns the avenue into a one-way street westbound from Fifth Street to Ocean Avenue and includes a sidewalk on the south side of the street that is 40-feet wide at its narrowest points.
The proposed Esplanade will accommodate the maximum 400 passengers that are expected to get on and off the train every five minutes during peak hours, when the line reaches its final destination in Downtown Santa Monica by 2016.
Preliminary renderings include wayfinding and design features that direct passengers leaving the train platform toward the central shopping district. The Esplanade, lead designer Peter Walker told the council last year, will ultimately create a space with “a character, a dignity and a festivity about it.”
The Expo Line in Santa Monica will consist of three stations, a maintenance facility, a bike path and approximately three miles of trackway, according to transit officials.
East of 17th Street, tracks will run in the existing Metro right-of-way located south of Colorado and cross to the south side of Olympic Boulevard near 20th Street. West of 17th Street, the tracks will run in the center of Colorado Avenue.
In addition to the Downtown station, there will be stations at Olympic/26th Street (Bergamot Station), at Colorado Avenue/17th Street (Memorial Park/17th St. Station), and at 4th/Colorado (Downtown Station).
“It will provide Santa Monica residents, employees, students and visitors with easier access to major destinations both locally and regionally,” officials said.
For more information about the Expo Line project, visit BuildExpo.org or call (213) 922-EXPO (3976).
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