Metro announces dates for Blue Line closures in 2019

As Metro’s Blue Line continues through its six-year-long, $1.2 billion rehab, the transit authority announced that the first portion of its eight-month long closure, set for four months along its southern portion of the track before moving to the northern portion, will begin on Jan. 26.

Part of the “New Blue” campaign will make much-needed improvements—both structurally and aesthetically—across the span of two, four-month segments.

The first of the closures—once again taking place on Jan. 26—will be along the southern stretch of the line from its Downtown Long Beach hub to the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks station. The northern segment, scheduled for closure beginning in May, will stretch from Willowbrook/Rosa Parks to 7th/Metro. The Willowbrook/Rosa Parks station will be closed for the entirety of the eight months as it undergoes its $66 million overhaul.

During the northern portion of the closure, the Expo Line will be suspended for 45 days at 7th St/Metro and the Pico Station; service in that segment will replaced by bus shuttles. The Expo Line will continue to run between LATTC/Ortho Institute Station and Downtown Santa Monica.

For the bus shuttle replacement services affecting the Blue Line, per Metro:

Upgrades include four new switches, meaning that trains can move between tracks in more locations; signal system upgrades; improvements to the Washington-Flower junction of the Blue and Expo Line; overhead wire refurbishment; continued rail replacement in DTLB following the 30-day closure back in 2014; and power system upgrades.

And, admittedly, creates difficult for the 90,000 daily riders that use it—but according to Metro, all of this work has to be done given the Blue Line is the oldest of the system’s tracks.

The signals’ rehabilitation, overhead catenary replacement, and track rebooting work were originally proposed as weekend closures across every other weekend for three years in a row. The rebuild of the entire Rosa Parks-Willowbrook station requires a closure of that station for six to eight months. In other words, the eight-month closure, as now proposed, consolidates a bunch of separate projects into a single timeline to complete a large amount of work in an accelerated timeline.

As for how it will directly affect transit riders, Metro’s Steve Hymon assures that customers need not take action now but definitely need to be prepared and aware of new information about the extensive closure.

“We want to give everyone a heads-up as early as possible that major work is coming and that we continue to strive to improve the Blue Line,” Hymon said. “As we get closer to the work, we’ll be releasing information about bus shuttles that will be replacing train trips. We will be offering a variety of shuttles to meet short, medium and end-to-end trips as part of an effort to minimize inconvenience to our customers as much as possible.”

To view the breakdown of the expenditure plan for the “New Blue,” click here.

Brian Addison is a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or on social media at FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn.

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 16 nominations and two additional wins for Best Political Commentary for his work at KCET and Best Blog for Longbeachize, a section of the Long Beach Post. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.