Residents in the Palms area saw some traffic changes this week when preparation work began for construction of a National/Palms Boulevard bridge to accommodate the extension of the Metro Expo Line from Culver City to Santa Monica.

On Tuesday construction crews will began realigning and re-striping lanes on National Boulevard between Manning Avenue and Exposition Boulevard, near the Santa Monica (10) Freeway.
Concrete barriers will be installed along National and at the National/Exposition intersection, blocking the area where excavation work will begin later this week, according to the Exposition Construction Authority.

National Boulevard will remain open during the construction work, although one traffic lane in each direction will be closed. The street will be reduced to one southbound lane between Manning and Exposition. The northbound road will remain two lanes, but left turns will not be permitted from Palms onto National, according to the construction authority.

The new bridge will be built next to an existing Southern Pacific single-track railroad bridge over National. A railroad bridge at Motor Avenue was torn down in July to make way for a wider Expo Line bridge.

The $1.5 billion, 6.6-mile Expo Line extension, scheduled for completion in 2015, will allow light rail trains to travel from downtown Los Angeles past the current terminus in Culver City to downtown Santa Monica.

Metro officials estimate that by 2030, 64,000 people will use the 15.2-mile Expo Line daily.