Submitted by AECOM

The Eastside Extension is a 6-mi-long addition to the Los Angeles-to-Pasadena Metro Gold Line. The light rail line runs from downtown’s Union Station to East Los Angeles.

The project features eight new stations (two underground) and twin 1.8-mi-long tunnels under Boyle Heights, a heavily populated section of Los Angeles. In addition to bringing new transit options to a traditionally under-served community, the project meticulously integrated community-inspired art into the station designs.

Although this was LACMTA’s first design-build project, it was hugely successful, opening on schedule, on budget, and with no lost time injuries suffered after more than 4 million work hours.

The system is now operational, and building toward its ultimate projected ridership of 45,000 daily boardings.

Planning on the Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension began in 1989. Initially conceived as a heavy-rail subway line, the project was suspended in 1998. In 2002 the FTA approved a revised light-rail project. However, the heavily populated area of Boyle Heights is very active seismically, and posed numerous other challenges. To constrain the risk (and the associated cost inflation), Metro elected to use a hybrid contract: a traditional contract to mine the tunnel, combined with its first design-build project for all other project elements.

The Eastside Extension project has had a substantial social and economic impact on East Los Angeles, relieving the community’s virtual isolation that resulted from a longstanding lack of transit options. The deliberate integration of community-inspired art helped improve quality of life while overcoming persistent local pockets of inner-city blight. The iconic artwork and architecture of the stations have received glowing reviews from several architectural critics. By involving the community in the design and selection of artwork for each of the eight new stations, the project team maximized community buy-in and participation in the developing project.

The affected communities have also recognized the project for its sensitivity to environmental issues, such as the mitigation and abatement of noise and tunnel vibration, as well as significant integration of urban design sensitive to local and cultural landmarks.

Project Team

Developer/Owner: Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Los Angeles
General Contractor: Eastside LRT Constructors, Los Angeles
Architect, Civil Engineer, Structural Engineer, MEP Engineer: AECOM/WIS Joint Venture, Los Angeles