It’s been a few months since we last caught up on news from Metro about the current status of construction on the Purple Line subway extension. But yesterday, we had a chance to sit in on a brief presentation from Ned Racine and Scott Donohue, representing, respectively, Metro and Metro’s Purple Line design-build contractor Skanska-Traylor-Shea, at the (virtual) monthly luncheon of the Miracle Mile Chamber of Commerce.
Racine opened the presentation by reporting that the full Purple Line Extension project is still on track to be in operation by late 2027 (well in time for the 2028 Olympics), with Section 1 (Western Ave. to La Cienega Blvd.) opening in late 2023, Section 2 (La Cienega to Century City) opening in 2025, and Section 3 (Century City to the VA Hospital in Westwood) opening in 2027.
Currently, Donohue said, activity near the future Wilshire La Brea station is focusing on construction of several “appendage structures” adjacent to the underground station area – including emergency exits, utility rooms, ventilation rooms, and entrance and exit structures – which began in August.
To facilitate this work, Metro has fully closed the entrance to Orange Drive north of Wilshire, and added some other traffic control measures, which will remain in place until February.
Meanwhile, underground at the La Brea station, work is complete on the station’s vaulted roof, which provides a stronger structure to the station box and eliminates the need for obtrusive columns in the station area.
Also, Metro is moving ahead with plans to place a 62-foot tall radio antenna abovebround at the SE corner of Wilshire and Sycamore, at the eastern end of the station area, to help facilitate communications among the station’s underground radio room, local first responder organizations, and LA-area mountaintop transmitters and receivers.
Moving west toward the new Fairfax station, Donohue reported that Orange Grove Ave. is still fully closed off, south of Wilshire, and will remain so until January, 2022, to allow excavations for appendage structures at that station.
Traffic and pedestrian control measures are also in place near Fairfax, to facilitate the appendage structure construction, but pedestrian access to all buildings remains open.
One of the more intriguing bits of news from the construction this year was the discovery a few months ago of an “anomaly” directly in the path of the planned underground tunnel and tracks near San Vicente Blvd. Metro has been doing investigative work at the site for several months now, to figure out what the anomaly is, and Racine reported yesterday that it appears to be metal, is definitely not an old oil well, and may be part of the infrastructure for a large storm drain that runs down San Vicente Blvd. Racine said Metro has been conducting “Phase 1” investigations near the anomaly for several months, and will move into “Phase 2” investigations soon, which will result in some changes in street-level traffic control patterns and new detours in the area.
Finally, Donohue reported that underground roof construction (similar to the roof that was just built at the La Brea station) is now underway at the La Cienega station…
…along with construction of the station’s tunnel “eyes,” where Metro’s tunnel boring machines will soon emerge.
Metro will provide its next public Purple Line Extension update at a lunchtime webinar on Wednesday, February 3, 2021, at 12 p.m. See https://www.metro.net/projects/notices/events_purpleline/ for more details and contact information.
About Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and is the co-owner/publisher of the Buzz.
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