LA Metro says COVID-19 delaying process
By Chad Winthrop
LA Metro says construction on the Purple Line Extension, which will connect Century City and Westwood to Downtown, is being hindered by COVID-19.
According to LA Metro, in September and October 2020, contractors overseeing projects reported a total of seven positive COVID-19 cases. In November, those projects had 35 cases, and in December there were 88 cases.
“Numbers for January are pending but we’re expecting more of the same,” LA Metro said.
According to LA Metro, capital construction is considered an essential activity under federal and state guidelines during the pandemic.
“Our contractors have been following a variety of safety guidelines since last March to keep workers safe, but the projects are challenged by the same issues facing many other employers. Community transmission of COVID-19 is extremely widespread in L.A. County,” Metro added. “At this time, we have not determined how COVID-19 will impact our projects’ schedules, if at all. The bottom line is this: if the surge in COVID-19 cases continues for much longer, we may begin to see project impacts.”
One of Metro’s priority projects, the Purple Line Extension will provide a high-capacity, high-speed and, dependable alternative for commuters to travel between downtown Los Angeles, the Miracle Mile, Beverly Hills and Westwood.
From the current terminus at Wilshire/Western, the Purple Line Extension will extend westward for about nine miles and add seven new stations providing easy access to the Westside, the region’s second-largest job center. Travel time between downtown Los Angeles and Westwood is expected to be about 25 minutes.
The project is being built in three sections. The first section between Wilshire/Western and Wilshire/La Cienega is now under construction and is scheduled for completion in 2023.
Section 2 of the Purple Line Extension Project will extend the subway to downtown Beverly Hills and Century City. Section 2 is also currently under construction and is scheduled for completion in 2025. Sections 1 and 2 are funded primarily by Measure R — the sales tax Los Angeles County voters approved in 2008 — and with a pair of federal grants.
Section 3 will then extend the project to two stations in Westwood. The passage of the Measure M sales tax ballot measure by county voters in 2016 will allow this section to be accelerated. Construction began in 2019. Metro has secured federal funds for the last section of the Purple Line Extension Project.