Crenshaw Line Opening Pushed Back to Late 2021 – Nearly a Year Later than the Date Projected Six Months Ago

The 2021 opening will come nearly a year later than the date Metro offered last October, and two years later than its original projected opening

Test train on Metro's Crenshaw Line - photo via Metro
Test train on Metro's Crenshaw Line - photo via Metro

A letter sent out to concerned stakeholders from Metro CEO Phil Washington earlier today broke the news that the Crenshaw Line likely will not be up and running until some time in late 2021 – nearly a year later than the expected opening date projected just last October.

“Regrettably, Walsh Shea Corridor Constructors now anticipates turning over the project to Metro in Winter 2020-21,” wrote Washington. “Once the project is turned over to Metro, we will need several months* to test the line and train our operators before officially opening the new light rail line to the public.” [*Metro typically spends six months testing the line after construction is completed.]

Though the message is meant to remind the public of how “ambitious, complex, and challenging” the project was, given that it “touches three cities and the unincorporated county” and includes a mix of underground, at-grade, and aerial stations and rail forms, it does not actually explain why there has been so little progress since last fall. Or the year prior.

Construction is currently said to be 94 percent complete.

But an October 2019 update – which projected the opening of the line for October of 2020 – had declared construction to be 93 percent complete. And an update a year earlier, in November of 2018 (below), had declared construction to be 87.5 percent complete, with an opening date forecast for the summer of 2020.

Screen Shot 2020-04-09 at 2.39.27 PM

The letter goes on to say that Walsh Shea “has cited the complexity of underground, at-grade, and aerial work” and points to the electrical work needed to ensure the underground stations and communications systems are properly powered as being one of the stumbling blocks.

“Metro does not want to rush this work,” writes Washington, saying that his top priority is delivering a safe product. “Plainly stated,” he continues, “I am insisting and demanding that this contractor hand over to me a quality project for this community.”

Metro broke ground on the Crenshaw Line in early 2014, and had pegged the original opening date for the fall of 2019. But over the years, Metro staff have continued to report incremental delays, prompting the agency to dip into contingency funds to try to curb schedule creep along the way.

This time, Washington notes that the new projected completion date means he will ask the Metro Board to approve “approximately $90 million of funding to cover the cost of Metro staff and consultants working on the project…[representing] about five percent of the project’s current overall budget of $2.058 billion.”

Read the full letter to constituents here.


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