Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Metro Provides Quarterly Update on Purple Line Construction

Metro concept rendering of the new Purple Line station at Wilshire and La Brea.

On Thursday, October 17, Metro held its quarterly Community Construction Meeting to update community members on the current status of the Purple Line Subway Extension construction.

Station Art

The meeting began with a presentation from Claire Haggarty, who heads the Westside Purple Line Extension’s art program.  Haggarty said the artists who will be creating works for the three new Purple Line Section 1 stations at La Brea, Fairfax and La Cienega are now under contract and working on their pieces for the three new stations.

As shown in renderings provided by Metro, the works will be installed outside and inside the station entrances…

…at the station concourse levels…

…and at the platform levels.

Over the summer, Haggarty said, each of the artists – Soo Kim, Fran Siegel and Karl Haendel – also held community outreach events, which helped create awareness of their respective projects, and helped them gather ideas and inspiration for their works.

Artist Soo Kim conducted a workshop to collect residents memories of the Miracle Mile, for her artwork to decorate the La Cienega station, during Metro’s “Half Way There” celebration in June. (Photo from Metro.)
Fran Siegel holds an “Urban Sundials” workshop at the same event. (Photo from Metro.)
And Karl Haendel held a “Meet the Artist” event at the same location, showing photos of people holding iconic objects from local museums. (Photo by Metro)

In addition, there were several other events this summer, in which objects were presented representing various aspects of Miracle Mile, and a Miracle Mile and Korean Cultural Center walking tour, conducted by local author and Wilshire Blvd. expert Eric Lynxweiler.

Finally, Haggarty noted that while the three station artists have been selected, there will be many more opportunities for local artists throughout the Purple Line construction project, and anyone who would like to be considered for an artists’ pool for various projects (opportunities “include artwork integration within the built environment and short term exhibitions in media such as  lightboxes, posters and construction phase banners”) can find details at

Construction Updates

Moving on to construction updates, Construction Relations Officer Ned Racine and design/build contractor representative Scott Donohue provided the following information:

The new maintenance facilty for Purple Line train cars and other service vehicles, at 590 S. Santa Fe Ave., downtown, is now fully completed.

The newly completed maintenance facilty for Purple Line train cars and other service vehicles. (Photo from Metro)

Tunneling is now underway at the Wilshire/Western connector site, which will connect the existing Purple Line station at Western Ave. to the new tunnels dug this summer west of Western, heading toward La Brea.

At La Brea, construction is well underway on the underground station box east of La Brea, while more work remains to be done on the western side.

Station construction at Wilshire & La Brea. (Photo from Metro)

Workers are also now building the roof structure at the concourse level of the La Brea station…

Concourse construction at Wilshire & La Brea. (Photo from Metro.)

…and Metro is also starting to restore street-level bus pads between Western and La Brea.  (This work will require some weekend lane closures to facilitate concrete pours.)

Above the La Brea station, at Sycamore Ave., Metro is working on its new radio tower, which rises 62 feet from its base, and will help to facilitate communications between the radio room at the eastern end of the station, and city emergency and other personnel.

Sycamore radio tower. (Photo from Metro.)

As for tunneling, Racine said the first of the two tunnel boring machines began working its way from La Brea west toward Fairfax on October 6, and had moved 266 feet as of the meeting date.  The second TBM, for the second tunnel, is now being assembled and will behing its westward journey from La Brea soon.

Meanwhile, at the Fairfax station, crews have been building the slab at the bottom of the station, and are now installing an HDPE plastic lining, which serves as a moisture barrier, on the station walls and floor.

HDPE linings being installed at Fairfax. (Photo from Metro.)

Metro is also finalizing city approvals for a long-term closure of a section of Orange Grove Ave., just south of Wilshire, to facilitate the construction of a small appendate for the station opening in that area.  The street is scheduled to be closed for eight months, and then restored and reopened after the work is completed.

Area of Orange Grove Ave. which will be closed for eight months. (Photo from Metro.)

Moving west, although there will be no Purple Line station at Crescent Heights and Wilshire, Donohue said work is being done there to facilitate the removal of methane gas, and to find two old oil wells that are in the path of the future tunnels.

And, finally, at the La Cienega station, area excavation has been completed, and construction is now beginning there.  There will be some intermittent street closures at Gale Ave. to facilitate three upcoming concrete pours.

The fully-excavated La Cienega station area. (Photo from Metro.)
Cross-section showing how the station structure will be created at the La Cienega station.

And finally at the meeting, Racine revealed the top five choices in the recent contest to name the three new Purple Line Stations, and noted that public comments on the selections will be accepted at [email protected] until October 25.  After that date, the choices will be forwarded to Metro’s Board of Directors for discussion and a final choice.

For more information on Purple Line construction, Metro will also include most of this presentation in a public webinar, from 12 to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, October 25 (click the link to join in)…or contact any of the following:

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Elizabeth Fuller
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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