Wednesday, November 14, 2012

LACMTA begins utility relocation work for Westside Subway Extension project

The first official hole in the ground for utility relocation for the Westside Subway Extension. The first official hole in the ground for utility relocation for the Westside Subway Extension. Steve Hymon/LACMTA

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Westside Subway Extension project started utility relocation work in Los Angeles' Mid-Wilshire District.

The work is a required precursor to future subway construction that will ultimately extend the LACMTA Purple Line by nine miles to key destinations on the Westside.

Utility crews have begun relocating existing underground telecommunication lines on Wilshire Boulevard between La Brea Avenue and Detroit Street where a future subway station is planned. Utility relocation work is also planned at Wilshire/Western and the future Wilshire/Fairfax and Wilshire/La Cienega stations during the next year and a half. Together, the three stations constitute the project's first four-mile construction phase.

"The pre-construction work launches one of the city's most dynamic transit projects, a subway that will link downtown to the city's Westside," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who also serves on the LACMTA Board of Directors. "The Westside Subway Extension will provide world-class transit service along one of the region's most heavily-traveled corridors and its construction will create thousands of local jobs."

Utility relocation work is part of LACMTA's overall preconstruction activities that will also include securing a construction contractor, acquiring needed real estate, continuing field testing and conducting ongoing community outreach.

In other project developments, the Federal Transit Administration recently permitted the project to advance into its Final Design phase. LACMTA intends pursue federal New Starts matching funds for the project next year.

The total project is forecast to cost $6.3 billion based on a three-phase construction schedule. Major construction of subway stations and tunnels for the first segment between Wilshire/Western and Wilshire/La Cienega is expected to begin in 2014, with planned completion in 2023. The second construction phase would add another 2.6 miles of subway service and would include new Wilshire/Rodeo and Century City Stations and has a planned opening date for 2026. The last remaining construction phase of the project would add another 2.9 miles to the service, include two new stations at Westwood/UCLA and Westwood/VA Hospital and open in 2036.

Once complete, the Purple Line Extension will include a total of seven new subway stations. About 49,300 people are forecasted to board the line at these stations. There would be about 78,000 new daily trips on the full system as a result of the opening of this line. Riders will be able to travel between downtown Los Angeles and the Westwood/UCLA Station in about 25 minutes.

The Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation forecasts that the project will create 52,500 jobs (direct, indirect and induced), $3.04 billion in labor income and $8.13 billion in business revenue generated by the project in the Southern California region.

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