Crenshaw/LAX Line opening likely to be in mid-2020, Metro announces

Metro has a better idea of the timeframe for opening the Crenshaw/LAX Line. Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington announced on Thursday at the agency Board’s Executive Management Committee meeting that some elements of work on the project are taking longer than expected due to complexities out of Metro’s control, meaning the opening of the line will likely be delayed until mid-2020.

Washington also said that Metro would do everything in his power to ensure that the contractor Walsh Shea Corridor Constructors opens some lanes on Crenshaw Boulevard later this month during restoration work, to accommodate the community for the holiday season. Crenshaw Blvd. is closed to thru traffic between Jefferson Boulevard and Coliseum Street as the roadway and streetscape are being rebuilt above the new underground Expo/Crenshaw Station. Thankfully, this is the last full extended closure for the Crenshaw/LAX project.

The Crenshaw/LAX Line is overall 90 percent complete. ‘Substantial completion’ of the project is expected in Dec. 2019. The agency will then complete final safety testing and operator training with service to the public anticipated to begin in mid-2020.
Key issues impacting the project schedule are:

•Completing the electrical work on the rail line is taking longer than expected.

•Metro wants to finish necessary track tie-in work for the future Airport Metro Connector Station before the Crenshaw/LAX Line opens to avoid closures once trains are running. The station at Aviation Boulevard and 96th Street will be the transfer point between Metro and the future LAX Automated People Mover serving airport terminals.

•Metro is also working with Los Angeles World Airports to coordinate construction of the Automated People Mover near the Crenshaw/LAX Line tracks and is working with the city of Inglewood on service plans to the new NFL stadium and adjacent entertainment district.

The construction of the $2.058-billion Crenshaw/LAX Line began in early 2014 and has proven, as expected, to be a complex undertaking.

The project features eight new stations and sections that are underground, aerial and which run down the middle of a major street. In addition, the project has a new rail yard, connects to the Green Line tracks and must accommodate the future airport station.

Metro thanks the community for its patience as we build a world-class light rail line and return fast and convenient rail service and other community benefits to Inglewood, Westchester and the iconic Crenshaw Corridor.

21 replies

  1. “a world-class light rail line and return fast and convenient rail service“

    We’ll see about that.

  2. Until there is actually a direct rail line between the city center and directly into our international airport, I would not call our transit system “world class,” cause there are other cities that just blows ours off the radar.

    • I commented on this before but it really is a head scratcher why they didn’t build a connection to the expo line (expo west to Crenshaw south/Crenshaw north to expo east). The connections would have all been on MTA property and provided a one seat trip to downtown, east la and maybe even the 210 corridor. This is assuming that the regional connector will be able to allow alternate routings (expo to Asuza instead of East LA). If it can’t, well we should just give up then.

      • Hi Thomas —

        In the early planning stages for the Crenshaw project Metro planners did look at the possibility of a connection to Expo if Crenshaw was built at street level. Even then it would have been difficult because of the space needed. But — if memory serves — the Community Redevelopment Agency wanted the northern part of the line underground to accommodate a potential project. Once the line was moved underground, connecting the lines became even more difficult and the idea was dropped. Planners were also looking at extending the line north one day and there was the question of how many trains could be accommodated on the shared section of the Expo and Blue Line in DTLA.

        Long story short: transfers will be needed on the longer rail trips for some folks, but I think that’s to be expected in a region our size. It goes without saying that most people prefer fewer transfers but I think there are other ways operation-wise to help reduce transfer impacts — namely frequent service.

        Steve Hymon
        Editor, The Source

      • Thomas
        For a one seat ride from downtown to LAX, throw your support around the Metro concept to extend the Purple Line from the VA Hospital to LAX (and possibly SFV). That’s the quick one seat ride that makes sense.

  3. If Metro really wants to score some points with the community, one of the major ongoing projects needs to open AHEAD of schedule. Either the regional connector or Purple Line phase 1 opening early would show Metro is using tax dollars wisely.

  4. Wouldn’t the Crenshaw/LAX station face further closures as the People Mover route is developed? The People Mover is another 5 years out upon opening. I don’t expect the People Mover platform to be done until the track is built too.

    Mid-2020 isn’t too bad of a schedule extension. At least the Blue Line refurbishment will be done months in advance.

    • Hi TimW;

      Hard to say exactly where APM people mover construction will be when the Crenshaw/LAX Line opens or what impacts it could have. Obviously, Metro wants as few impacts as possible and there may be ways to schedule APM work around rail service hours. In the meantime, I think it’s good that the work Metro has to do on the new station will be done before the light rail line opens.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  5. Metro needs to take a trip to London and Barcelona. Both cities have their central cores connected directly to their biggest airports by metro rail!
    The Picadilly Line links all four terminals at Heathrow Airport to the heart of London! The L9-sud links both terminals at El Prat Airport directly to the city of Barcelona! No excuse for LA not to do so. Instead of a bike path, use the Harbor Subvision along Slauson for an airport train!

  6. Eh. We tried. If this is the worst thing to happen for this line then I’ll take it and try to live another year to see it open. Most large construction projects in the city have a one- or two-year wait just to get construction crews so manpower is probably an issue too.

  7. Yikes I have been watching the construction for years by the time it’s completed I won’t even need it because I can no longer afford to live in the area

    • Hi Andrew;

      No, the airport station still must be built — construction has not begun. It is anticipated to open in 2023 when the airport’s people mover project opens.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

        • Hi Andrew;

          I think the shuttles will move to Aviation/Century after the Crenshaw/LAX Line opens — but I need to double check that next week.

          Steve Hymon
          Editor, The Source

  8. My only worry is concerning routing decisions. I need to go from Redondo towards Norwalk without being diverted through the Chrenshaw/ LAX line.