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LA Metro Expo line bridge construction underway in Culver City (MAP)

Construction crews have started building the new Expo Line bridge that will extend over Venice Boulevard. The structure will connect the Culver City station with Phase 2 of the light rail project to the Westside.

Crews have been working underground for several months to clear away power lines and poles that were in the way.

With the utility work behind them, Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority CEO Rick Thorpe says his team is now putting up columns along Venice to support the bridge.

“They’ve started the one on the eastern side and then they’ll be moving into the middle of the street, where we have a couple of other columns and then on on the western side of the street," Thorpe said.

RELATED: New LA Metro Expo Line finally opens and gets put to the test

Thorpe predicts that work will take several months. In the summer, crews will add concrete and steel. Developers expect to finish the bridge by the end of the year. Then they’ll lay more than six miles of track out to Santa Monica. After that, workers will power up test trains.

Planners expect the $1.5 billion project to wrap up sometime in 2016. Metro estimates that by the year 2030, about 64,000 people will ride the Expo line between downtown L.A. and the Westside every day.

As the first anniversary of the 1st phase to Culver City draws near, leaders say ridership has surpassed expectations with nearly 26,000 passengers a day.

Map & Metro Expo Line Fact Sheet January 2013