A sign of eventual relief is here for commuters who have languished in West Los Angeles traffic.
Major construction officially began Monday on the third and final leg of the Metro Purple Line extension that will bring the subway to the Veterans Affairs campus near Westwood.
"We believe in what is happening here,'' Federal Transit Administration Deputy Administrator Nuria Fernandez said during a ground-breaking ceremony at the VA campus. ``This project has been long awaited by many, much-anticipated. Of course, it is critically important for Angelenos.''
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The U.S. Department of Transportation contributed $1.3 billion toward the $3.6 billion stretch of the Purple Line -- now known as the D Line -- from Century City to the VA campus. The project will include subway stations at Westwood/UCLA and at the VA terminus of the line. The overall extension of the line from the Koreatown area to the VA campus is estimated at $9.5 billion, with federal grants covering roughly half the cost.
The Purple Line stretches all the way to Union Station north of downtown.
Full extension is expected to be completed in 2027 -- one year ahead of the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.
The first phase of the Purple Line extension, stretching the line from its current terminus at Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue to Wilshire and La Cienega Boulevard is scheduled to open in 2024, followed the next year by the roughly 2.6-mile leg through Beverly Hills to Century City.
Although Monday's ceremony marked the start of major construction on the final leg of the extension, Metro officials said overall work is roughly 20% complete. The first extension phase is about 70% completed, and the second about 45%.
Metro officials said when the extension is completed, they expect 49,300 daily weekday boardings at the seven new stations, while generating about 78,000 new daily trips on the overall Metro rail system.