Mega Projects and Ground Improvement

Jim Rush - Editor

Jim Rush – Editor

In this issue, we highlight the work being undertaken by the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), which includes three projects under construction or nearing construction — the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project, the Regional Connector Transit Project and the Westside Purple Line Extension.

For the article we talked with Dennis Mori, Executive Officer-Project Management at Metro, who has been with the agency since the 1980s and has been heavily involved with the rail transit system since the early stages. Metro’s current expansion program represents nearly $10 billion worth of investment that will add nearly 20 miles of new track by 2023.

Recently it was announced that Metro received nearly $2 billion in federal grants and low-interest loans for the first segment of the Purple Line Extension. Officials on May 21 announced the receipt of a $1.25 billion Full Funding Grant Agreement from the Federal Transit Administration to help pay for the first phase of the Purple Line Extension, a $2.821 billion, four-mile segment.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Transportation simultaneously granted Metro a low-interest loan of $856 million from a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan to complete the funding package for the first phase of the project. Combined, the nearly $2 billion in project commitments represent the single biggest federal transportation investment in the history of Los Angeles County. The remaining $821 million in project funding includes Measure R, City of Los Angeles, and other existing local and federal funds.

As with any major program in an urban area, ground improvement techniques will no doubt play a role in protecting existing structures as well as assisting in construction itself. Also in this issue, we examine ground improvement and dewatering with the articles “The Art of Dewatering Design” and “Dewatering Pump Considerations for Shaft Construction.” Additionally, you will find “Monitoring the Northgate Link Extension,” which examines the program to monitor ground movement in conjunction with construction activities as part of Sound Transit’s most recent project in Seattle.

Brian Fulcher of Kenny Construction

Brian Fulcher of Kenny Construction gives a presentation at the Colorado School of Mines’ Ground Improvement Short Course.

For those of you who missed it, the Colorado School of Mines’ Office of Special Programs and Continuing Education (SPACE) hosted a three-day Short Course on Ground Improvement in Underground Construction and Mining, which was held May 19-21 in Golden, Colo. The course, the second annual, had more than 90 participants and featured presentations by some of the world’s leading practitioners. Topics covered all aspects of ground improvement strategies from design considerations through construction techniques and equipment.

The social highlight of the course is a reception and banquet at the Golden Hotel, which gives additional time to attendees to network in a relaxed setting. This year’s featured speaker was Rick Deschamps, Vice President of Engineering, Nicholson Construction Co., who gave a presentation on the ground improvement program for the recently completed Port of Miami Tunnel.

This is one of three annual Short Courses offered at CSM that cater to the tunneling market. The others are the Microtunneling Short Course (held each February) and the Tunneling Short Course (held each September). These courses provide an excellent learning opportunity with ample discussion and networking opportunities. For more information, visit www.csmspace.com.

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