Most of Metro’s New Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail Line is Substantially Complete – Opening Could be December 2022. Update: CEO “Fall 2022”
Update 3/24: At the March 24 board meeting, Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins announced that Crenshaw/LAX will open “Fall 2022.” Wiggins further mentioned that the lower end of the line, near LAX (below Westchester/Veterans Station), would initially operate as a bus bridge.
Metro’s new 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX light rail line really is approaching the finish line. According to testimony at yesterday’s Metro board Executive Management Committee, staff reported that Crenshaw segments A and B (explained below) are substantially complete, essentially meaning that they have passed from the contractor’s responsibility to Metro’s responsibility. After substantial completion, Metro generally needs about six months to test the line, to train operators, and to work out any problems – prior to opening to the public.
Overall, Crenshaw/LAX construction is 99.6 percent complete, according to Metro’s staff report.
If all goes well – which hasn’t been the case for Crenshaw/LAX so far – the new rail line could open to the public as early as this December. Though early 2023 appears most likely.
The Crenshaw/LAX line extends through the cities of Los Angeles and Inglewood. Its northern terminus is at the Metro E (Expo) Line Crenshaw Station. Its southern terminus is at the Metro C (Green) Line Aviation Station. Initially, Crenshaw Line operations will be tied to the C Line and will not include the LAX station (though riders can utilize the Aviation Station shuttle). The LAX connection is a separate project – the Metro Airport Connector station, anticipated to open in 2024.
The completed segments A and B extend south from Leimert Park Station to the southern terminus.
The remaining segment C – the northern end of the line where it runs underground – is anticipated to be substantially complete by early June (as reported last month).
While a lot of focus has been on the Crenshaw/LAX line being late and over-budget (it had been anticipated to open in pre-pandemic Fall 2019), yesterday County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl expressed her excitement about the upcoming opening of the new line. “As I look at especially Crenshaw, the Airport Connector, the Regional Connector – thinking about the progress made through all these difficulties” Kuehl enthused, “I got really excited thinking about riding through my old neighborhood in Crenshaw, [and] the Regional Connector to go from one end [of the county] to the other on one train. It’s exciting.”
Kuehl thanked Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins and all the Metro staff that “worked so hard to struggle through all of the setbacks,” then gushed that “just listening to this made me feel like I want to hop on a train right now.”