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

Purple Line Construction Update: Wilshire/Western Construction Zone on Its Way Out

One of two parallel tunnels now being dug by Metro’s tunnel boring machines, heading from La Brea to Western Ave. (photo from Metro’s construction community meeting presentation)

At Metro’s quarterly Purple Line Section 1 Construction Community Update Meeting on Thursday, January 17, Scott Donohue, representing Metro’s design/build contractor Skanska, Traylor, Shea, announced that the construction work zone on Wilshire Blvd., between Western and Manhattan Place, will disappear soon as major work in the area moves underground.  Donohue said that starting on Friday evening, January 25, traffic flow through the area will return to three lanes in each direction, left turn pockets will be restored, and bus stops will return to their normal locations along Wilshire.

In other construction news, Metro Senior Construction Relations Officer Ned Racine announced that a new maintenance facility for Purple Line equipment will open at 590 S. Santa Fe Ave., downtown, on April 1, 2019.

At the new Wilshire/La Brea station, Donohue said, construction of the station itself is proceeding underground, but the big news is, of course, that the first tunnel boring machines, nicknamed Elise and Soyeon, which began working their way east from La Brea toward Western Ave. in October, have now progressed far enough that they can no longer be seen from the La Brea station area.  (Once the machines reach Western, they will be removed from the tunnel, transported back to La Brea, and reinserted in the station area, pointing west, for their journey toward Fairfax Ave.).  The machines not only dig the tunnel, but build the concrete tunnel walls as they progress.

Construction timeline for the Wilshire/La Brea station. Red bar shows where we are in time and progress at the moment. Work is still on schedule for the planned 2023 opening of Section 1 of the Purple Line Extension.

And at Fairfax Ave., Donohue said, excavation is almost complete, and construction will begin soon.  Donohue noted that there would be some concrete pours at the Fairfax station in February, but most of the work will be done at night, with some lane closures on Wilshire during off-peak hours.

Similar timeline for the Wilshire/Fairfax station
Metro photo of the excavation at Fairfax…where soil is very black from tar residue.

Finally, the third station in the Section 1 project, at La Cienega Blvd.,  is also currently under excavation, Donohue said, and that work will finish later this year.  Donohue said some new noise mitigations have been put in place near this construction area, including wrapping fan lines in sound blankets, and adding sound blankets to cranes working near Wilshire and Gale Ave.

Full presentation materials from Thursday’s meeting can be found at  The next construction community meeting for Section 1 of the Purple Line Extension will be held on Thursday, April 18, 2019, from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m., at the SAG-AFTRA building, 5757 Wilshire Blvd.

In the meantime, questions and comments regarding Purple Line construction can be directed to Metro’s 24/7 Project Hotline, at (213) 922-6934, or [email protected]


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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 has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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