LAX celebrates APM milestone

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Pile construction has begun on the Automated People Mover (APM) project, a 2.25 mile (3.6km) elevated electric train system that will transport travelers in and out of the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Central Terminal Area (CTA).

These cast-in-drilled-hole (CIDH) piles will form the foundation for the APM’s guideway and stations. The first piles for the East Station in the CTA and the Intermodal Transportation Facility – West (ITF-West) station off 96th Street have been completed, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) has announced.

The APM’s CIDH piles make the system’s elevated design possible, interfacing with the columns to support and stabilize the guideway and stations. A common construction method in the erection of bridge structures, CIDH piles are cast in place by pumping concrete into drilled holes containing steel reinforcement cages. The diameter and depth of the piles vary based on design requirements, with the largest CIDH piles measuring up to 11ft (3.35m) wide and the deepest measuring up to 99ft (30m) deep.

“The sheer size of these piles hints at the scale of what is to come – in terms of both LAX’s transformation and the heavy construction it will take to realize it,” said Bernardo Gogna, chief development officer for LAWA. “The Automated People Mover is one of the most anticipated developments in the airport’s history and we are excited to watch the project’s progression.”

CIDH work will run until autumn 2020, spanning the entire 2.25 miles of the guideway path. As sections of CIDH construction are completed, concrete columns will be constructed followed by falsework erection to support the cast-in-place concrete structural elements.

Once the concrete has been placed and the structures are sufficiently advanced to be self-supportive, falsework will be disassembled and moved to the next section under construction. Ultimately, there will be over 265 piles installed along the 2.25 mile APM route.

The APM, which is scheduled to open for passenger service in 2023, will transport passengers in and out of the CTA, connecting to LA Metro’s regional transportation system and the airport’s consolidated rent-a-car facility and intermodal transportation facilities. Only the system’s maintenance and storage facility will be constructed at grade, with the rest of the system elevated up above the current LAX infrastructure.

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Tara has worked for UKi Media & Events since 2013, initially as a freelancer. She has been a journalist for over a decade and has worked for a range of publications, including Personnel Today, Management Today and The Grocer.

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