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

Purple Line Subway Extension Construction Update for August


At its quarterly update on Purple Line Extension subway construction on Wednesday, August 5, Metro staff provided detailed information on current activities along the full length of the Extension route, from Western Ave. to its eventual terminus in West LA near the Veterans’ Administration.  Details on Section 1 (Western to La Cienega) construction are provided below…and you can can find details about Sections 2 (La Cienega to Century City) and 3 (Century City to west LA) in the full presentation here.

Overall, Metro manager Marlon Walker said at the beginning of Wednesday’s program, all three sections of the project are still on schedule, with Section 1 to begin service in 2023, Section 2 in 2025, and Section 3 in 2027. All three sections will be in operation before the 2028 Olympics.



Currently, beginning at the eastern end of the new extension, at Wilshire and Western, construction crews are now removing cement blocks that previously separated the existing Wilshire/Western station from the new tunnels that now extend westward under Wilshire Blvd.



Moving a bit west, an above-ground work zone opening is still in place on Wilshire, near Rimpau Blvd., where the street-level decking allows delivery of concrete and other materials being used to create one of several underground “cross-passages” linking the westbound and eastbound subway tunnels.  (Such cross-passages are being built at several intervals along the length of the route.)  According to Metro, most of the work at this site is being done during nighttime hours, but noisier activities are scheduled during the day.



Later this month, construction is also scheduled to start on several underground “appendage structures” (emergency exits, utility rooms, ventilation rooms, etc.) near the new Wilshire/La Brea station.  To facilitate this project, traffic on Wilshire Blvd., between Highland and La Brea, will be reduced to two lanes from late August through February 2021, and Orange Dr. will be fully closed on the north side of Wilshire.  Access to businesses such as the Beverly Hills BMW service center, and the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, will be maintained.  Also, there will be intermittent openings in the street-level decking on Wilshire during this period, which will result in other temporary traffic control measures.



Meanwhile, Metro will also begin construction of a 62-foot tall antenna at the SE corner of Wilshire and Sycamore.  The antenna, which will be 12″ wide at its sidewalk-level base, will help the station’s radio room, at the eastern end of the underground station area, communicate with emergency first responders, and provide connectivity to mountaintop receiver locations.



And finally in the La Brea area, work on the station itself continues, with crews currently working on the walls and curved roof structure underground.




Further west, near the Wilshire/Fairfax station, work is also underway on several appendage structures, both underground and above ground.



To facilitate these projects, Orange Grove Ave. is now fully closed on the south side of Wilshire Blvd., and will likely remain closed through January, 2022.



Work will also begin on another appendage structure at the SW corner of Wilshire and Fairfax this Saturday, August 8, which will reduce traffic on Wilshire to two lanes between Spaulding Ave. and San Diego Way.  Pedestrian access to the office/retail building at 6100 Wilshire Blvd. will be maintained.



Underground, both of the Section 1 Tunnel Boring Machines, Elsie and Soyeon, have passed through the Fairfax station area, and are now making their way west toward La Cienega.  Elsie has just passed Crescent Heights Blvd., about 87% of the way of the total distance from Western Ave. to La Cienega Blvd…and Soyeon is just east of Crescent Heights, having covered about 84% of her total distance.  (La Cienega will be the end of the road for both of these TBMs.  Two others – Ruth and Harriet – are currently making their way east from Century City to La Cienega.  And a third pair will eventually tackle the distance between Century City and West LA.)



Meanwhile, just west of Wilshire and Crescent Heights and the TBMs’ current loctions, crews have been doing pre-tunneling investigation work and gas mitigation, with street-level work zones.  But that work is now wrapping up, and the concrete K-rail and other materials in the area will be removed sometime in the next 10 days.



Closer to Wilshire and San Vicente, crews have discovered an underground “anomaly” in the path of the planned tunnels (likely an old oil well), so work zones will be set up at the Wilshire/San Vicente intersection later this month to begin mitigation work.



Meanwhile, at Section 1’s final station, at La Cienega Blvd., construction is well underway, with daily street closures at Gale Dr., to make it easier for materials delivery to the staging yard at Wilshire and Gale.



Underground at La Cienega, crews are working on the walls and ceiling structure of the new station box…



…as well as construction of the tunnel “eyes,” through which the tunnels will pass when the TBMs arrive in December of this year.



In other related news, Metro’s Business Interruption Fund remains available to help small businesses owners along and adjacent to the construction route, who have been negatively affected by subway construction.  To date, the program has awarded more than $6 million in grants to businesses along Section 1 of the Purple Line Extension.  For those who were curious about other kinds of business disruptions, however, Metro’s BIF Interim Manager Jessica Spearman was careful to explain that the BIF only covers construction-related losses, and not losses related to the current COVID-19 pandemic.



Also in non-construction news, Metro’s Eat, Shop, Play program – which provides advertising and promotions to help boost businesses along the construction route – is still going strong, with recent projects including a Miracle Mile dining guide, a Beverly Hills shopping guide, and email newsletters highlighting participating businesses.




And finally, Metro’s station art program, which will commission local artists to provide artworks for the new station entrance areas, concourses and platforms, has now assembled a pool of 1,500 artists…and a selection panel is now reviewing the artists and their work and will make final selections soon.



For more information on Sections 1, 2 and 3 of the Purple Line Extension construction, you can watch Wednesday’s presentation in its entirety here, or see the full set of presentation materials here.

For further information, contact Metro…



…and/or attend one of the next schedule Purple Line Extension update webinars.



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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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