As Metro’s Blue Line continues through its six-year-long, $1.2B rehab, the transit authority announced an eight-month long closure will take place next year to continue improvements, broken into two, four-month segments.
Additionally, during its Construction Committee meeting last week, $11.5M was moved toward rehabilitating the track and stations, including all new signage, improved landscaping, digital displays, and painting. The monies was initially intended to be used on the Expo Line and, after completing under budget, was moved to the Purple Line extension; following that, it was moved toward the “New Blue” project.
“Since joining the Metro Board, upgrading the Blue Line has been a priority,” said Long Beach Mayor and Metro board member Robert Garcia. “While the work will be disruptive as we modernize the line, we are going to end up with a faster, safer, and better riding experience.”
The first of the closures, taking place in January of 2019, will be along the southern stretch of the line from its DTLB hub to the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks station. The northern segment, scheduled for closure beginning in May of 2019, 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 $66M overhaul.
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 Luke Klipp, Garcia’s Metro staff member, the work is essential.
“For those interested, all of this work has to be done,” Klipp said. “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. Essentially, 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. The Blue Line is Metro’s oldest line, and this work has to be done, one way or another.”
As for how it will directly affect transiters, 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.”
For more details, you can view the original presentation (Item 25) given at Metro Board of Director’s System Safety, Security and Operations Committee last week. To view the breakdown of the expenditure plan, click here.
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