With an investment of $350 million, the ongoing New Blue Improvements Project to bring L.A. Metro’s oldest light rail line up to date and into a State of Good Repair is now halfway complete, the agency announced.
Metro’s State of Good Repair initiative, under the leadership of CEO Phillip A. Washington, is targeted at keeping existing and future transit assets in good working order while reducing breakdowns and mechanical issues.
Metro is greatly expanding its transit system thanks to the M sales tax ballot measure approved by L.A. County voters in 2016. The sales tax measure also dedicates a funding stream to State of Good Repair — which is unique among the nation’s transit ballot measures.
Other examples of State of Good Repair Projects include improvements to the maintenance shops and administrative building at Metro’s Division 1 bus yard in downtown Los Angeles, adding pedestrian gates to the Blue Line corridor, replacing escalators at the busy Pershing Square subway station, converting more Metro facility lighting to LED, replacing roofs at rail yards, and grouting subway tunnels to mitigate groundwater leakage.
The Blue Line opened in July 1990 and runs for 22 miles between downtown Long Beach to downtown Los Angeles. It has historically been Metro’s busiest light rail line and averaged more than 60,000 weekday boardings in 2018.
Work to modernize the Blue Line has been ongoing since 2014 with a series of safety and operational improvements that culminated in this year’s major work requiring rail service to be suspended — first for four months on the southern section of the line and then for four months on the northern section.
The current work on the southern section of the line began in January and ends on June 1, when work on the northern section will begin. As part of the project, the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station — the fourth busiest rail station in the Metro system — will also be closed for eight months for a complete rebuild from the ground up.