The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (METRA) has started major construction on the third and final section of the Purple (D Line) Extension Project that will connect downtown L.A. and the Westside via a high-speed, high capacity subway in 2027.
The $3.6-billion Section 3 project has received a $1.3-billion federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The project will connect two previous subway sections through Koreatown, Beverly Hills and Century City and extend it another two-and-a-half miles to Westwood.
Metro will build new stations at Westwood/UCLA to serve Westwood Village and UCLA and another at Westwood/VA Hospital to serve the hospital campus just west of the I-405 freeway.
Contractor Tutor-Perini/O&G’s near-term work for the future Westwood/VA Hospital station includes a piling operation to create a temporary support structure for the underground station. Drill rigs will dig 100-foot deep holes into the ground and a crane will place steel beams known as ‘piles’ into each hole. After the pile is put in place, each hole will be filled with concrete to provide support for the station walls. Following completion of piling later this year, Metro’s contractor will then begin excavating the subway station box.
Prior “pre-construction” work to date has consisted of final design, advanced utility relocation and Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) assembly and component testing, among others.
“The Purple Line Expansion is the key that will unlock our transportation future and open doors of opportunity across our city — and today’s groundbreaking moves us one step closer to completely redefining our relationship with public transit,” stated L.A. City Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti.
The FTA’s $1.3-billion federal grant will be delivered through a multi-year agreement known as a Full Funding Grant Agreement that is governed by the FTA’s Capital Investment Grant program, popularly referred to as “New Starts.” It is a stand-alone grant agreement, with no required loans for Metro to pay back as in previous funding agreements for first two project extensions. The remaining funds needed to build the project will come from Metro’s own local voter-approved transportation sales tax measures.
The $9.5-billion project was able to secure approximately half of the total project cost from the FTA.
Metro is now actively building all three sections of the subway extension, which are planned to open in 2024, 2025 and 2027, respectively. The first section between Wilshire/Western and Beverly Hills is nearly 70 percent complete. Section 2 is now nearly 45 percent complete. Section 3, including pre-construction work, has reached 20 percent completion.
The subway extension to the Westwood/VA Hospital station will garner about 49,300 daily weekday boardings at the seven new stations. There will be about 78,000 new daily trips on the full Metro Rail System as a result of opening this line.