In a construction victory made possible by the countywide COVID-19 “Safer at Home” order earlier this year and subsequent street closure approval by the city of Beverly Hills, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has completed decking for its planned Purple Line Extension subway station at Wilshire/Rodeo seven months ahead of schedule.
A three-and-a-half-block closure of both directions of Wilshire Boulevard between Crescent and El Camino Drives was officially reopened to traffic Sunday night, June 14 following two-and-a-half months of expedited subway station construction work.
During that time, Metro’s contractor accelerated the installation of hundreds of steel beams called piles below Wilshire Boulevard. These piles provide the support structure for future excavation of the subway station box. The contractor then expedited decking, a construction process that entails excavating the street and replacing it with temporary concrete panels supported by large steel beams. The panels will serve as a temporary roadway that will allow traffic to continue above while construction work continues below.
“Wilshire Boulevard will probably never again see the light traffic conditions that resulted from our county’s recent safer-at-home order. Metro struck while the iron was hot and did our work quickly and efficiently,” said City of Inglewood Mayor and Metro Board Chair James T. Butts. “We saved countless local businesses and residents from significant decking construction impacts that could have lasted until early 2021. It is a testament to how city and county governments can partner effectively even during a crisis. ”
Metro’s contractor Tutor Perini O & G initially worked two shifts per day over a six-day work week to complete the piling and decking within the allotted time. To compensate for the recent curfews, the contractor’s field supervision and union craft labor worked seven days per week, with some staff working more than 12 hours per day.
“We are making progress in our goal to provide fast, frequent subway service that will connect downtown L.A. to the Westside in just 25 minutes,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “When done, this vitally important project will be a gamechanger for transit riders throughout the region.”
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and the safer-at-home order, Wilshire/Rodeo decking was anticipated to be performed during weekend closures from August 2020 through January 2021. With many businesses already closed or operating at reduced hours, the city of Beverly Hills approved Metro’s street closure request on March 31.
“While we recognize the many challenges COVID-19 has brought to all of our lives, this was an opportunity for positive progress in the midst of a very uncertain time,” said Beverly Hills Mayor Lester Friedman. “Many thanks to our residents and businesses for their patience and to the Metro crews for their expedited work that eliminates the need for weekend street closures through early next year.”
Section 2 of the Purple Line Extension to Wilshire/Rodeo and Century City Constellation is scheduled to open in 2025.
One of Metro’s priority projects, the Purple Line Extension is a critically important rail project that will extend the Purple Line subway for nine miles from its current terminus at Wilshire/Western Station to the Westwood/VA Hospital. The project is being built in three sections and will provide a high-capacity, high-speed and dependable alternative for commuters to travel between downtown Los Angeles, the Miracle Mile, Beverly Hills, Century City and Westwood.
For more information on the Metro Purple Line Extension Project, please visit https://www.metro.net/.