LA Metro Opens Regional Connector Transit Lines

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) celebrated the official opening of the Regional Connector transit project on June 16 at the Japanese American National Museum. The 1.9 miles of new track allow light rail trains to travel between Union Station and the busy 7th Street/Metro Center Station in LA’s Financial District. Before the Regional Connector, that was a journey only Metro’s heavy rail lines could make. Bridging this gap allows Metro to merge the hook-shaped L (Gold) line with the A (Blue) and E (Expo) lines, creating two serpent-like train lines where there were once three. With the opening of the Regional Connector, riders will have access to three new underground stations: the Little Tokyo/Arts District Station, the Historic Broadway Station and the Grand Avenue Arts/Bunker Hill Station.


Calif. Transport Commission Names Executive Director

The California Transportation Commission appointed Tanisha Taylor to the position of executive director in June. Taylor has served as interim executive director since March 2023 and previously served as chief deputy director.

“I look forward to continuing to execute the work of the commission as we work toward a transportation system that is cleaner, safer and more equitable and [that]supports economic opportunity for all Californians,” Taylor said in a statement. Before joining the commission, she held positions at the California Association of Councils of Governments and the San Joaquin Council of Governments.


JV Wins $138.5M Contract For Naval Project in Guam

The Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Marianas awarded a $138.5-million design-bid-build contract to Aiea, Hawaii-based H2O Guam JV for repairs to the Mike and November wharves at Naval Base Guam and Apra Harbor, the U.S. Dept. of Defense announced June 9. H2O is a joint venture of Healy Tibbitts Builders Inc. and Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co., Hawaii business records show.

The project is expected to be completed by July 2026. NAVFAC Marianas previously awarded a $98-million contract to the same JV for the repair and modernization of another wharf at Apra Harbor. That project is scheduled to be completed this year.


Track Work Complete on SoCal Light Rail Extension

Track work is now complete for the 9.1-mile, Foothill Gold Line light rail extension project that will connect the Southern California cities of Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne and Pomona. The $1.6-billion project is currently 72% complete and remains on schedule to finish in early January 2025. Since construction began in 2020, the project team, led by design-builder Kiewit-Parsons JV, has completed 19 new or renovated bridges; 21 at-grade railroad crossings; four new stations; freight track relocation; and numerous project walls. A second phase of the Gold Line project is currently planned and is seeking funding to take the line an additional 3.2 miles from Claremont and Montclair. The Gold Line was LA Metro’s first Measure M-funded light rail project to break ground.


USACE Lifts Restrictions On California’s Isabella Dam

Isabella Dam

The change in the Isabella Dam’s risk rating allows its reservoir to be filled to capacity.
Photo courtesy Flatiron/Dragados/Sukut

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers updated the risk rating for the Isabella Dam in Kern County, Calif., in June. The move removes operating restrictions and allows the dam’s reservoir to reach its full 568,100-acre-ft capacity.

The move comes following the completion of safety improvements to the 70-year-old dam in 2022. A joint venture of Flatiron/Dragados/Sukut handled the $204-million contract to raise both the main and auxiliary dams to minimize the risk of overtopping and add filters and drainage to both dams to increase dam stability. The work included improvements to the existing spillway and construction of a new 300-ft-wide emergency spillway.

The Isabella Dam Safety Modification Project still has one phase left with construction of a new U.S. Forest Service visitor center in Lake Isabella and a permanent USACE operations building. This phase is scheduled to be complete in 2025.


Calif. High-Speed Rail Taps Arup for Sustainable Services

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has selected Arup, a global sustainable development consultancy, to support the agency’s sustainability program. Arup is leading a team of 12 consultants to support the delivery of sustainability services along the entire 500-mile route. The full project team is comprised of Arellano, BASE, Bio Studio, Build Momentum, Convey, ERP, GlobalASR, ICF, OMCI, Polytechnique, Strategen and Terraverde.

The new high-speed rail line will be designed to operate with 100% renewable energy, with an estimated capacity of 1.9 million MWh per year supported by solar power and battery storage systems.


Hannan to Lead SBCTC

Chris Hannan was selected as president of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California (SBCTC) on July 17. He replaces President Andrew Meredith who was named the union’s president in 2021 upon the retirement of Robbie Hunter.

SBCTC is the largest construction trades council in the U.S., representing nearly half a million tradespeople in 14 different crafts, including roughly 70,000 apprentices. Hannan previously served as executive secretary of the Los Angeles and Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council, the largest regional council in the state.


Sites Reservoir Awarded Funding Aimed at Increasing California Water Supply

Sites Reservoir was awarded an additional $30 million in federal funding from the Bureau of Reclamation through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. With this new investment, the total contribution from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to Sites Reservoir is $244 million.

Sites Reservoir will increase California’s water supply by providing 1.5 million acre-feet of additional water storage. The project is expected to benefit from legislation designed to streamline permitting approvals of critical infrastructure that was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in July.


AGC Calif. Offers Resources To Promote Diversity

The Associated General Contractors of California launched Culture of CARE in July, a collection of resources designed to promote diversity, equity and inclusion’s best practices in the construction industry. The program offers actionable tools and resources to help contractors gauge current company culture and provides learning resources for both the office and in the field.