Purple Line construction shut down for safety issues could reopen today

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California Construction News staff writer

Construction on a 2.6-mile stretch of the Metro Purple Line in Los Angeles could restart today (Nov.7) , if site contractor Tutor Perini has adequately addressed safety concerns.

Work was shut down Oct. 21.

“Metro has ordered its contractor to temporarily suspend all field work on the Purple Line Extension Section 2 Project due to the unacceptable rate of serious worker injuries,” Metro said in a statement. “Safety is and will always be our first priority. The safety of those building our county’s transportation projects must always be protected.”

In a letter to general contractor Tutor Perini, Metro identifies nine recorded injuries over the past twelve months – five in the last three months – and “many more incidents that could have been more serious.”

“A fundamental change in safety culture is required on the Project,” Michael McKenna, senior executive officer, project management, Purple Line Extension Section 2 Project wrote in the letter to Tutor Perini.

“Due to serious and ongoing safety concerns expressed by Metro that have not been adequately addressed by TPOG and recent additional incidents and recordable injuries, TPOG shall stop and suspend all construction Work on the Purple Line Extension Section 2 Project effective immediately until Nov. 7.

. TPOG has not properly addressed Metro’s safety concerns, has failed to take and consistently implement proper corrective actions to cure its violations of the Contract Documents, and has failed to maintain a proper safety culture on the Project. TPOG is therefore responsible for all costs and delays associated with the Suspension

Metro is demanding Tutor Perini take steps, including a “comprehensive root cause evaluation” of the incidents, and to present a revised safety plan before work on the Purple Line can resume.

“We expect the contractor to improve its safety policies and to demonstrate its full compliance with all of Metro’s contract safety requirements before we allow work to continue,” the letter states.

The Purple Line Extension project will add seven new stations connecting L.A.’s Westside to downtown.

Construction on a 2.6-mile stretch of the $2.4 billion Los Angeles Purple Line transit project has been shut down due to safety concerns following a history of injuries and issues dating to July 2021, according to a letter sent to the contractors by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority.

Transit officials stopped work following repeated warnings about safety issues to Sylmar, California-based Tutor Perini and Torrington, Connecticut-based O&G Industries, the contractors leading the project.

Safety issues identified in the letter include hazardous and dusty tunnels and a lack of following fall protection requirements when working at height..

“We are firmly committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment for our employees and to working in a manner that ensures the safety of our subcontractors, customers and the general public, as well as the protection of facilities, equipment and the environment,” Tutor Perini said in a statement about the Purple Line’s safety record shared with Construction Dive.

The Los Angeles Purple Line Extension is expected to open by 2027, according to the transit agency’s website. Tutor Perini was awarded a $1.37 billion contract to build the second phase of the project in 2017.

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