Update on construction progress for the Purple Line Extension

Work excavating the Wilshire/La Brea Station under Wilshire Boulevard. The photo was taken in August. Steve Hymon/Metro.

With the turning of the calendar, we thought it would be a good time to provide an update on one of our key transit projects: the nine-mile extension of the Purple Line subway from the Wilshire/Western Station to Westwood. 

There are also upcoming community meetings — see the schedule at the bottom of the post. 

The project is being built in three sections. Construction is underway on the first section to Wilshire/La Cienega and will soon begin on the second section to downtown Beverly Hills and Century City.  Below is the updated scheduled recently posted to the project’s home page on metro.net.

The plan is to have all three sections in operations before the LA 2028 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. Metro is working on the $1.3-billion grant necessary for section three (the federal money will be paired with money from Measures R and M).

On the first section, substantial progress has been made across the project on the stations at Wilshire/La Brea, Wilshire/Fairfax and Wilshire/La Cienega.

In November, Metro’s contractor Skanska-Traylor-Shea began laying the ground floor for the Wilshire/La Brea station, where the project’s tunnel boring machines will begin their journey in mid-2018.

Excavation of the Wilshire/Fairfax Station is expected to wrap up this fall. At Wilshire/La Cienega, the final part of the concrete decking was installed earlier this month. The decking allows traffic to continue to flow on Wilshire and La Cienega while excavation of the station continues below ground.

The work — with help from the cities of Beverly Hills and Los Angeles — was expected to take 15 weeks but finished five weeks early. 

This photo and the ones below show street decking work at Wilshire/La Cienega. 

In total, more than 1,500 concrete panels now separate vehicular and pedestrian traffic from the excavation and construction on section one. 

Section two of the project will run from Wilshire/La Cienega to Century City with a station in downtown Beverly Hills near Wilshire and Rodeo Drive.

On this section, the public can expect utility relocation from Southern California Edison, AT&T and LADWP and geotechnical boring work from Metro’s contractor Tutor Perini/O&G throughout January at the Wilshire/Rodeo and Century City/Constellation stations. Turn restrictions and lane reductions will be necessary to complete the work.

On Section 3, advance utility relocation is expected to begin in February for the future Wilshire/Westwood station and will continue for two years.

For more updates on the Purple Line Extension, please attend one of the upcoming Purple Line Extension community meetings.

Section 1 & 2 in Beverly Hills: La Cienega and Rodeo Station Monthly Update Meeting
Wednesday, January 10 at Beverly Hills City Hall from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Section 1: Construction Community Meeting
Thursday, January 25 at the Petersen Automotive Museum from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Section 2: Construction Community Meeting
Thursday, February 22 at Century Plaza Towers from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

20 replies

  1. For personal edification, wondering exactly where the portal for the Wilshire/Westwood station will be. Can’t be right at that intersection cuz there are high-rises on every corner, right?

      • Hi Steve,

        Did Metro look into selling the property above the underground station to a developer? For all these stations, it doesn’t look like any building is on top of the station entrance. Selling that land seems like it would be a good way to receive an additional $100 million (total) in revenue that could be devoted to another project/extension, as well as providing additional density/potential riders at the station. If Metro didn’t look at this option, why not?

        • Hi Andrew;

          Some of the station sites are already developed; others have areas that are being used as construction staging areas. Joint developments can still happen — but there’s a process for that described here: https://media.metro.net/projects_studies/joint_development/images/jdprocess_2016-1201.pdf. “As we say on PLE station fact sheets: Station entrances may initially be planned as open plazas. However, it is anticipated that, over time, development incorporating the station entrance will occur.”

          Steve Hymon
          Editor, The Source

        • I personally believe that Metro, as well as the county, will benefit more from a PPP mixed used development where metro receives either lease payments or fees. Not sure if you’ve looked at the cost of some of these projects but 100 million doesn’t go very far these days. I think having that income (property ownership/easements) metro can have a source of income if god forbid tax revenue decreases to a dangerous level.

      • The document presents various entrance alternatives for each station. From the latest information i’m aware of the number of entrances for the stage 1 stations have been slimmed down to 1 each. Do you know if this has or will occur for the Westwood station as well? And what is the rationale for doing so if each proposal has been found feasible, besides cost?

        • Hi JHBW;

          One each except for that Wilshire/Westwood Station, where entrances are planned as I described earlier.

          Steve Hymon
          Editor, The Source

    • Looks like there are different OSHA regulations for underground equipment, probably to limit the risk of accidental fires or explosions. I’m guessing the company put that label on there just to designate it for the specific project, so it wouldn’t get used alongside above-ground vehicles that are allowed to use gas powered internal combustion engines.

  2. What is the status of the lawsuit(s) by Beverly Hills and its school district re routing the curve toward Century City under BHHS? We haven’t heard anything lately. Have they finally given up?

  3. When do piles and decking start for rodeo and century city?

    What’s the “groundbreaking” day for TBMs 1&2 to start tunneling east from La Brea?

    When are TBMs 3&4 scheduled to start digging west from the La Cienega station for phase 2? early -mid 2019?

    Will there be a fifth and sixth TBM digging west from century city simultaneously with the first four in early to mid 2020?

    • Hi Adam;

      We haven’t yet announced groundbreaking date for section two of the project, although it is likely to be sooner rather than later. Stay tuned!

      Please see page 16 of this presentation for approximate construction schedule for section 2: http://media.metro.net/projects_studies/westside/images/sec_2_cmty_mtg_2017_0928.pdf. As with all things construction, schedules can change.

      The tunneling contract has not been issued for Section 3, so I do not have any info about tunneling between Century City, Wilshire/Westwood and VA Hospital stations at this time.

      One clarification: two TBMs will be used on section 1. The number of TBMs on section 2 is still to be determined.

      Hope that helps!

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

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