Saturday, October 24

Portion of Wilshire Boulevard closes to allow for Metro construction

The Purple Line Extension is a high-speed subway project that will connect Westwood with Downtown Los Angeles. A portion of the project in Beverly Hills is being expedited while traffic is low during the COVID-19 shutdown. (Daily Bruin file photo)

A section of Wilshire Boulevard closed April 2 to expedite the construction of the Purple Line subway extension, but there are no confirmed plans to do the same in Westwood.

The extension will connect Westwood to Downtown Los Angeles by 2027. To expedite construction of the Wilshire/Rodeo station, the LA Metro and the City of Beverly Hills agreed to fully close Wilshire Boulevard between Beverly Drive and Crescent Drive for one to three months.

Low traffic resulting from the statewide safer-at-home orders made the closure feasible. This measure is estimated to reduce the construction timeline by up to six months.

Metro’s contractors are considering potential options for expediting work during the COVID-19 pandemic safer-at-home orders mandated by the state and local governments, said Dave Sotero, a Metro spokesperson, in an emailed statement.

Sotero did not mention any concrete plans to close down any parts of Wilshire Boulevard in Westwood.

Business stakeholders in Westwood Village have previously expressed concern that the construction on Wilshire Boulevard could largely cut off customers from entering the Village. A shut down of Wilshire Boulevard along Westwood Village may soften the impact of construction without harming local businesses, which have been closed because of the pandemic.

The Wilshire/Rodeo station is a part of Section 2 of the Purple Line Extension. In Section 3, which is planned to be completed by 2027, Metro plans to construct one station underneath Wilshire Boulevard between Westwood Boulevard and Veteran Avenue and another near the West Los Angeles Veteran Affairs Medical Center.

To date, the coronavirus pandemic has had no effect on the project timeline, and construction work continues to be conducted according to schedule, Sotero said. Metro employees and contractors are heeding recommended social distancing protocols and wearing face masks, coverings and shields as established by the workers’ employer, Sotero added.

The Purple Line Extension received $1.3 billion of funding from the United States Department of Transportation in February to finance the construction of the subway line extension to Westwood.

Enterprise editor

Oruganti is the 2020-2021 Enterprise Editor. He was previously a staff writer for News in the City & Crime and Science & Health beats. He is also a third-year cognitive science student at UCLA.

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