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DTLA utilities to be removed, relocated to make way for Regional Connector

By Hayley Fox
Published: Thursday, August 16, 2012, at 10:31AM
via Metro website

A rendering for the Regional Connector project, which Metro will begin preparing for on Monday with utility relocation.

In preparation for next year's construction of three new light-rail stations and 1.9 new miles of track, Metro will remove and relocate certain utility fixtures in DTLA.

These efforts will begin on Monday in an effort to ready the area for the new underground Regional Connector, which Metro expects to begin constructing in August 2013, according to The Source.

"The Regional Connector is the vital link connecting the county’s regional transportation network by uniting the Gold Line, the Blue Line and the Expo Line -- allowing for future one-seat trips between the San Gabriel Valley, Long Beach and the Westside,” said L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Michael D. Antonovich, in a statement last month.

The Connector received a crucial stamp of approval in July when the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) gave the project a Record of Decision -- certifying that the $1.37 billion L.A. metro extension meets all federal environmental guidelines.

This allowed Metro to move forward into final design stages.

Most of the upcoming preparations for the light rail line will be concentrated around the sites of the new stations; including 1st Street and Central Avenue, 2nd Street and Broadway, and 2nd and Hope streets.

The Source reports that in addition to trenching and excavation, "utility relocation activities will include the removal, realignment, and installation of new power, water, sewer, telephone, cable, and fiber optic lines."

According to Metro, they're permitted to work seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and work will take place in the streets and on the sidewalks; any temporary detours will be posted near the work site.

The Connector has been a work-in-progress for approximately five years, having begun in 2007 with a succession of meetings soliciting the public's input. According to Metro the benefits of the new light-rail line are numerous, and include minimizing the need for transfers, reducing travel times and making DTLA intersections less congested.

But it's not without its collateral damage: To make way for the new line, businesses including Weiland Brewery and Senor Fish are being displaced.

“A lot of consideration wasn’t given to a small business owner,” brewery owner Rick Bennett told Blogdowntown earlier this year. “I’m sad it has to destroy the restaurant there, but life moves on.”

According to Diego Cardoso, executive officer of the Regional Connector project, Metro has collaborated with stakeholders on the project and worked hard to ensure that public input was heard.

Metro expects construction to be finished on the Regional Connector and the line to be up-and-running by 2019.

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