The Los Angeles County (Calif.) Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) on March 30 marked “substantial completion” of the bulk of its 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor Project. A partial line opening is expected in late summer.
The approximately $2 billion project will extend light rail service from the E Line (Expo) at Expo/Crenshaw Station and merge with the C Line (Green) at Aviation/LAX Station, connecting the Crenshaw Corridor, Inglewood and El Segundo (see map below). It includes eight stations.
LACMTA said the first two segments are substantially complete between the C Line/Green and 48th Street in Inglewood; the final segment, between 48th Street and the E Line/Expo is slated to be substantially complete in the coming months.
According to the agency, Walsh-Shea Corridor Constructors has “completed its intensive system integration testing to validate the proper operation of all equipment and systems, including train control signals, underground station and tunnel ventilation, radio systems, back-up power, fire and smoke alarms and electricity to trains and stations, among others.”
The transit agency will begin its own five-to-six-month testing period for the new line. It has already started training operations and maintenance staff.
It noted that due to “ongoing construction of a new Airport Metro Connector Station at Aviation Boulevard/96th Street, the Crenshaw/LAX Line is anticipated to [first] open seven stations, operating between Expo/Crenshaw and Westchester/Veterans stations. A bus bridge will link the Crenshaw/LAX Line at Westchester/Veterans Station to the C Line (Green) at Aviation/LAX Station. The new Aviation/Century Station will not be served by trains until full line operations begin (expected in second half of 2023) once the Airport Metro Connector Station platform structure has been completed [for a future automated people-mover that will bring riders to LAX]. The Airport Metro Connector Station is anticipated to be ready for service in the second half of 2024.”
LACMTA awarded the design-build contract for the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor Project to Walsh-Shea Corridor Constructors, with HNTB Corp. as lead designer, in 2013 and construction began in 2014. The Federal Transit Administration issued its final approval of LACMTA’s line plan in 2012.
“This project will be transformational for Los Angeles County, particularly for South Los Angeles and Inglewood as we strive to deliver a safe and reliable transit option through these diverse communities,” LACMTA CEO Stephanie N. Wiggins said. “Construction of the Crenshaw/LAX line has been a very complex undertaking featuring many unique features that include every type of light rail elements including underground, at-grade, and aerial configurations, all designed to best serve these neighborhoods. We look forward to beginning the pre-revenue testing phase and the opening of this important infrastructure project that will provide tremendous mobility benefits to the community.”
Meanwhile, LACMTA officially closed out its Business Solution Center; Business Interruption Fund; and the Eat, Shop, Play construction mitigation programs, which provided resources, funding and promotion in support of the businesses impacted by Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor Project construction between 2014 and 2022.
The transit agency reported that the Business Solution Center “provided hands-on business development, support services and referrals to more than 300 small businesses in the Crenshaw and Inglewood communities”; the Business Interruption Fund awarded “more than $20.1 million to over 230 unique small ‘mom and pop’ businesses along the project corridor,” and “more than $32.9 million to over 430 unique small businesses for transit rail construction projects, including Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project, Regional Connector, and all three sections of the Purple Line Extension Project”; and the Eat Shop Play Crenshaw program worked with more than 150 businesses located along the project corridor “to receive free business marketing assistance,” including print/digital ads on LACMTA’s bus and rail system, and social media and email marketing.