Construction for Expo Line stretch to Santa Monica rolling forward

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One of the first major construction projects for the extension of Expo Line tracks to Santa Monica is underway, as crews work on a replacement for a decades-old railroad overpass.

The old Southern Pacific rail bridge has a single track over National Blvd. Crews will retrofit that track and begin the process of building a new bridge along side it with a second track for the Expo line extension. Crews have torn down the overpass at Motor Avenue and will replace it with a modern, double-track bridge.

Starting Monday night at 9:00 p.m., crews will restripe the intersections of National at Manning Avenue and at Exposition Boulevard. On Tuesday, traffic signal relocation begins, and on Wednesday, bridge construction.

Traffic on the I-10 westbound offramp to National will also be realigned, Metro officials said.

Some left turns at those intersections will be prohibited during the year-long construction project. Some traffic lanes will also be temporarily closed, a construction notice stated. Noise and dust levels will be monitored during construction.

The $1.5 billion Expo Line extension, scheduled for completion in 2015, will allow light rail trains to chug from downtown Los Angeles past the current terminus in Culver City to downtown Santa Monica.

The route will include seven new stations in Palms, Westwood, West LA. Santa Monica stations will be at Olympic and 26th, Colorado and 17th and Colorado and 4th, near the beach and the promenade. Construction of those new stations is scheduled to begin next year. People in some neighborhoods are going to court to try and block the project, and the California Supreme Court is expected to hear their case.

Metro estimates that by 2030, the Expo Line will become one of the most heavily-used light rails in the country, with 64,000 riders a day.

With contributions from Andrea Wang

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