The southern section of the Metro Blue Line will reopen Saturday following four months of renovation work, but the northern section between Compton and downtown Los Angeles will be shut down for similar upgrades, transit officials said Wednesday.
The end of work on the southern portion of the Blue Line between Compton and Long Beach marks the halfway point of the $350 million New Blue project, which is aimed at upgrading Metro's oldest and historically busiest light rail line.
"Blue Line riders are about to receive a number of service improvements, which will lead to fewer delays and refurbished stations," said Metro Board Chair and Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.
The renovation project includes upgrading tracks, overhead power lines and train control and adding switches. Train stations are also being repainted and outfitted with digital customer information screens, new signs and fresh landscaping.
With the project switching to the northern section of the Blue Line, train service will be suspended beginning Saturday from Compton to the downtown Seventh Street/Metro Center Station. As they did during the work on the southern section, bus shuttles will be used to carry passengers to and from affected Blue Line stations.
Work on the northern section of the line will also cause temporary closures of two stations on the Metro Expo Line, which stretches between Santa Monica and downtown Los Angeles and shares two stops with the Blue Line.
Construction work at the junction of the Expo and Blue lines near Washington and Grand Avenue will begin June 22 and continue for 60 days. During that time, the Expo Line will terminate at the LATTC/Ortho Institute station, and passengers will have to use bus shuttles to access the Pico and Seventh/Metro stations.
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"The northern segment will be challenging, but I'm confident that Metro staff will tackle this work with the same focus and determination they did on the southern segment," Metro CEO Phillip Washington said.
Work on the northern section of the line is also expected to take about four months.