Metro contractors began preconstruction in Westwood for the LA Metro Purple Line Subway Extension this week.
Workers began relocating utility lines and sawing and potholing areas covering Section 3, the part of the Purple Line that covers Wilshire and Westwood boulevards, on Monday. This phase is projected to be completed in 2020, according to Metro. When fully completed, the Purple Line will include one new station at the intersection of Westwood and Wilshire boulevards and another by the Veterans Affairs hospital.
Dave Sotero, communications manager for Metro, said traffic will mostly be impacted during construction on building stations, which will not start until 2019. He added that Metro is waiting for federal funding and will announce a contractor for Section 3 once it receives it.
“There isn’t going to be any immediate construction at UCLA,” he said.
He added that only the beginning and ending of the project will have the most impact on traffic because most of the construction will be happening underground. When the work above ground is completed, Sotero added that Metro will install deckings on the street to allow cars to travel while construction continues underground.
“Once we’re underground, the work will be performed below Wilshire Boulevard,” he said.
Metro has an Eat, Shop, Play campaign and Business Interruption Fund to help businesses that will be affected by the construction of the Purple Line, Sotero added. Eat, Shop, Play aims to help promote businesses affected by the construction, and businesses can receive funds from Metro’s Business Interruption Fund.
“We try to be as considerate of businesses as possible,” he said. “You have to prove a hardship to qualify for (the Business Interruption Fund). There’s a lot of criteria involved.”
Some students said they are excited for construction to begin in Westwood for the Purple Line Extension.
Cristal Torres, a fourth-year psychobiology student, said she has been commuting using the Big Blue Bus and the Metro from South Central Los Angeles for two years. Torres said she supports the subway extension and wishes the extension was available sooner, as construction is projected to be completed by 2025.
“It just makes (traveling) more commuter-friendly,” Torres said.
Ben Ha, a graduate student who currently travels by bus, said he thinks the extension would give commuter students an opportunity to live farther away from campus in places with cheaper rent.
“It would open up options for me – 30 minutes by bus is a lot different from 30 minutes by train,” he said.