Orange County Branch Newsletter
A Short 11 Years From Now
By: Josue Vaglienty, P.E.
I remember watching Mary Lou Retton performing one of her gymnastic routines while being televised worldwide. I didn’t realize the world stage she was on. I didn’t know that there were thousands of athletes or tens of thousands of visitors from other parts of the world in Los Angeles to be part of the 1984 Summer Olympics. I didn’t understand (at age 5) why there weren’t any elephants or clowns on this circus we were watching on TV. I also didn’t have any clue as to how much time and preparation was needed in order to host an Olympic event. With the recent announcement by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) granting Paris and Los Angeles the 2024 and 2028 Summer Olympics, respectively, the countdown has begun. Much of the preparation comes in the form of infrastructure that must be constructed or reconstructed. And prior to that (or at least concurrently) – it must be designed by the A/E industry. A good amount of that work will land on the laps of civil engineers.
Most of the 2028 Olympic events will take place at existing venues and locations throughout LA and Orange Counties, while others will be constructed and completed in advance. The two largest venues being constructed are the new LA Rams / Hollywood Park sports complex in Inglewood and the Banc of California Stadium adjacent to the LA Coliseum. With a combined construction value of $3 billion between the two sites, there’s a vast amount of civil engineering design that will continue for several years. Each location will likely spur additional development which will also require engineering design services.
Transportation is also a key consideration for the influx of tourists, spectators, athletes that will be visiting Southern California in 2028. Compared to the 1984 Olympics, the 2028 Olympics will provide many more options for mobility throughout LA and the surrounding areas. The Metro Blue Line was still in the planning stages in 1984. By the time 2028 rolls around, LA will have a much broader network of subways, light-rail, bus rapid transit, and bike lanes to provide an alternative to automobiles. Check out Curbed LA’s article “The Most Anticipated Transit Projects Opening in Time for the 2028 Olympics” by Matt Tinoco for specifics on some major transit projects that will arrive just in time. Autonomous vehicles might also be part of the transportation mix – a lot can happen in 11 years. One thing is for sure - billions of dollars will be spent to upgrade and improve existing transportation systems for the benefit of millions of users.
Housing for athletes and visitors will also be important factor in determining the success of the 2028 Olympics. Currently, it is anticipated that the Olympic Village will be hosted at UCLA. But that’s only a small fraction of the housing needs that will need to be met, not only for visitors but also for local residents. LA and Orange Counties are already seeing shortages in housing – and with population trends pointing upward over the next decade, the pressure to build more homes, apartments, and hotels will mount. Again, the spike in development will require planning, design, and construction support – good news for civil engineers.
Each of the three considerations above were big bargaining chips for the Los Angeles as they negotiated with the IOC for an Olympic bid. Each consideration is directly tied to some form of design and/or construction support that will be provided by civil engineers – some of them reading this article might already be working on projects now.
Los Angeles is among the fortunate cities to be given the opportunity to host the Olympic Summer Games three times (only London can attest to that today). Having hosted 1932 and 1984, Los Angeles is promising to make the 2028 Summer Olympics one of the most memorable in history. Only 11 years to prepare – plenty of time to tell my kids that there won’t be any elephants or clowns at the 2028 Summer Olympics.