Los Angeles County Transportation Authority (LACMTA) will begin work on a $350-million comprehensive modernization of its oldest rail line in January 2019.
LACMTA’s Blue Line is 28 years old and has undergone safety and operation improvements that go back to 2014. In April, the transit authority wrapped up a crossing safety project along the line. However, LACMTA notes that the upcoming project, dubbed “New Blue,” will further enhance safety, increase reliability, extend the service life of the Blue Line and improve the customer experience. Work is planned across several categories including improvements to train control, track and overhead power, as well as station improvements.
LACMTA says that the nature of the work requires portions of the Blue Line to be closed for two extended four-month closures. Had an alternative project schedule been implemented, LACMTA says the project would have meant two to three years of repetitive closures.
A major component of the project is the improvements at the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station. The station will see Blue Line platform mezzanine improvements, a platform and mezzanine extension, new station amenities and canopy, new southern pedestrian entry and new customer amenities and services, such as community plaza, bike hub and renovated Park & Ride lot, among other improvements.
The project calls for an upgrade to the existing train control signals system, the construction of four additional crossover tracks to reduce service interruptions and the modernization of the Blue Line yard train control system. Additionally, the overhead power system along the entire 22-mile line will be upgraded and replaced.
The project’s planned track work includes replacing tracks in certain segments and replacing track elements at 7th St/Metro Center and Blue/Expo Line junction.
The south end of the line will be closed first, from January to May 2019 followed by the north end of the line, which will be closed May to September 2019. LACMTA will provide three levels of bus shuttle service during the closures.
The Blue Line opened in 1990 and runs, mostly at grade, between the downtowns of Long Beach and Los Angeles.