Union Station Platform 7

Union Station Platform 7

Union Station Platform 7, photo: Melanie Nelson, Berg & Associates
Union Station Platform 7, photo: Melanie Nelson, Berg & Associates
Union Station Platform 7, photo: Melanie Nelson, Berg & Associates

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Union Station Platform 7, photo: Melanie Nelson, Berg & Associates
Union Station Platform 7, photo: Melanie Nelson, Berg & Associates
Union Station Platform 7, photo: Melanie Nelson, Berg & Associates
Location
Los Angeles, California
Completed
September, 2012
Owner
Metrolink
CM
Berg & Associates
Value
$9,906,872.38
Challenges

The Platform 7 project at Union Station was a reconstruction rather than stand alone new construction, therefore special consideration for maintaining the original 1939 design was a priority while bringing the platforms and track up to modern standards.  Midway through construction, the original contractor defaulted and a bonding company takeover threatened to strain the project schedule and budget, with a funding deadline looming just a few months past the completion date.  Other construction challenges included performing drilled pile and lagging shoring within 15 feet of a heavily used operating railroad track.  Pile excavation was 25 feet deep with very little leeway for error due to the Metro Red Line tunnel existing just 15 feet beyond that.  During the drilling of 100 piles, various random objects were discovered as digging unearthed remnants of Old Chinatown, long buried under Union Station’s first construction in 1939.

Innovations

With the project halfway completed, the CM anticipated and documented the original contractor’s signs of trouble such as questionable labor arrangements, irregular schedule changes and relocation of equipment.  When the Contractor eventually defaulted and abandoned the work, the CM’s thorough documentation of the Contractor’s irregularities protected the Owner from legal vulnerabilities and was essential in expediently transitioning to the bonding company’s replacement contractor with relatively little delay or additional expense.  The bonding company takeover resulted in a delay of only two months to the original project schedule.  The CM’s airtight documentation led the Owner to request the CM’s documentation methodology in a manual to be shared with its other contracted CM’s. Work was carefully scheduled so as not to affect train schedules or interfere with public activity at the Station.  A unique aspect of the work was the use of bolted steel truss for the canopy.  Bolted steel truss is an older style of steel connection method with bolting instead of welding the joints and requires a precision factor not often practiced in modern times.  Uniformity of bolt placement was achieved and provided an attractive vintage aesthetic as well as functioning to join the steel together.

After the abandonment of the project by the original contractor, Berg staff worked quickly to secure the site and made sure that the area was safe for railroad employees and the public.  Although the construction had opened up the Union Station passenger tunnel to the elements, berg inspectors ensured that several storms did not pose any threats to the thousands of Metrolink and Amtrak passengers that traveled through the tunnel to get to their trains. Berg Resident Engineer, Cass Hamvas, did an exceptional job in supporting [Metrolink] with thorough and comprehensive documentation for the negotiation of the takeover agreement with the bonding company.  Once the takeover contract was brought in, Ms. Hamvas and the Berg inspectors helped the contractor get up to speed quickly so the aggressive completion schedule could be met and made sure that the result was a high-quality product.

Stuart Chuck

Project Manager

Southern California Regional Rail Authority

 

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