A major renovation project will force a months-long closure of a stretch of the Metro Blue Line beginning Saturday, meaning thousands of people who rely on the light-rail route will have to find travel alternatives.
As part of the $350 million modernization project, rail service will be suspended through May from the 103rd Street/Watts Towers Station to the Downtown Long Beach Station. Trains in the closure area will be replaced by a shuttle bus service. The Blue Line will continue running between the Seventh Street/Metro Center Station in downtown Los Angeles and the 103rd Street/Watts Towers Station.
When that segment of the work is completed and the rail line reopened, Blue Line service will be suspended from May through September between the Compton Station and the Seventh Street/Metro Center Station downtown. Bus shuttles will again be used in the closure area to replace train service. The Blue Line will operate between the Compton Station and downtown Long Beach. During that phase of the project, service on the Metro Expo Line — which shares tracks with the Blue Line in part of downtown Los Angeles — will be suspended for 45 days at the Seventh Street/Metro Center and Pico stations.
Work to modernize the Blue Line, which is Metro’s oldest rail line at 28 years, has been ongoing since 2014.
“For decades, the Blue Line has been the workhorse of Metro’s rail system,” L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn said. “Not only is it our oldest line, it is also the busiest and is in dire need of improvements. These upgrades and repairs are going to inconvenience a lot of people but when the Blue Line reopens riders are going to get a more reliable and more comfortable commute.”
Work on the Blue Line will include improvements to the signaling, tracks and the overhead wires that deliver electricity to trains, according to Metro, and four new crossover tracks will be built to reduce service interruptions. A number of station improvements are also slated to be part of the project, including new digital map cases, signage, paint and landscaping.
“Long Beach residents rely every day on the Blue Line to access jobs and services throughout L.A. County,” Long Beach Mayor and Metro Board Member Robert Garcia said. “This project will ensure the Blue Line can operate for years to come as the important transit connection we know it to be. The closure will be difficult for many of us, but Metro will offer a variety of bus shuttles to minimize the inconvenience to Blue Line customers.”
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