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LA metro extension on schedule

STATIONS AT Hollywood's major tourist destinations are on schedule for a May opening to complete Los Angeles' third phase Red Line metro extension.

Despite major difficulties with a 4km long rock tunnel, the project, which started in 1997, is likely to be within its £815M budget, according to John Hawley, a UK engineer with US/UK consortium Hatch Mott MacDonald.

The firm is managing consultant for most of the work on the 9.5km northwards route extension, which includes a 300m deep tunnel between Hollywood and Universal Studios.

Contractor Traylor Bros and Frontier Kemper had to modify two rebuilt Robbins TBMs at the start of the work after softer than expected mudstone was encountered. An extra 150mm was added to the 6.2m diameter excavation and the rib and shotcrete support was bolstered. About six months were lost on the twin bore but later made up by rescheduling trackwork, said Hawley.

'Line contractor Herzog worked from various entries and was able to give the tunneller space to finish the 80mm thick insitu concrete lining,' he said.

The first two architect- designed cut and cover stations are expected to increase subway use as they are sited at popular tourist destinations. Hollywood Highland is next to a major theatre development which will be a new home for the Academy Awards, while Universal City attracts millions of film buffs. The line goes on another 4km in shallower shield-excavated tunnel to North Hollywood. Test runs began when power was switched on in October.

Client Metro Rail, of the LA Metropolitan Transport Authority, had to resolve managerial difficulties during the project (NCE February 1998) which caused work to halt and saw JMA replace Parsons Dillingham as project manager. The MTA is still investigating two further extensions to the route - branches east and west - but the mood of the car-oriented city is likely to be for 'Smart' bus routes.

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