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Following noise complaints, LAPD halts 24-hour construction of Westside rail line

January 27, 2010 | 12:03 pm

The long-delayed Expo line was recently dealt another setback when authorities revoked a permit that allowed construction 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The move could further delay construction of the line, which is already more than a year behind schedule, and add to the $862-million price tag to complete the first segment from downtown Los Angeles to Culver City.

That cost has already grown by $220 million over the project’s original budget of $640 million. The line is planned to eventually reach Santa Monica. Richard Tefank, executive director of the Los Angeles Police Commission, said the 24-hour permit on one section of the line was revoked last week after an investigation into noise complaints in some of the surrounding neighborhoods.

“The majority of people they [investigators] spoke with indicated that the noise was disruptive for them, impacting their quality of life,” Tefank said, adding that one investigator went to surrounding neighborhoods at 2 a.m. one evening and heard loud disruptions. Without the 24-hour permit, construction is allowed between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

Richard Thorpe, chief executive of the Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority, the organization tasked with building the line, said the 24-hour permit was important to speed up the project. If the construction authority doesn’t have such a permit, Thorpe said, contractors would be forced to shut down some streets and intersections during the day when there is generally heavy traffic.

In a letter to Police Commission President John Mack, Thorpe wrote that the authority had taken several steps to curb severe noise at night including having the project’s contractor request permission from the construction authority before doing night work.

Thorpe and Tefank are scheduled to meet and discuss the revocation of the permit today.

-- Ari B. Bloomekatz