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Expo line to Culver City will open to public late April; Two stations still under construction

By Andrew Lopez
Published: Wednesday, April 04, 2012, at 03:52PM
Flickr via ExpoLightRail

The expo line is set to open April 28 to the public.

Phase I of the new Metro Expo Line project is gearing up for its public opening on Saturday, April 28. Riders will eventually be able to glide from 7th St./Metro Center to the Culver City station in 30 minutes once the project is finished.

As of now, there are still two stations yet to be completed of the $930-million project that broke ground in 2006. The Farmdale station is scheduled to be finished by early-June, and the line’s final destination in Culver City, is expected to open in the summer according to Metro spokesman Rick Jager.

Remaining work at the Culver City station includes installing stairs, landscaping the plaza and street improvements near the station. Pylons, map cases and lighting are still to be installed at the Farmdale station, according to Metro.

Commuters will get free rides on the Expo on the Saturday and Sunday of the grand opening to sample the line's services. Upwards of 100,000 people are expected to take advantage of the offer, Jager said.

“It’ll be a busy weekend,” Jager added.

Starting April 30, the free rides will end, and prices for the light rail will be the same as all other Metro services, including an unlimited day pass that costs $5.

That’s only a little more than a gallon of gas, Jager noted.

The 8.6-mile, 12-station track will include 10 new stations. The line will travel parallel to the Santa Monica Freeway, offering an alternative to the often-congested traffic it’s known for.

“It’s a virtual gridlock 24/7, sometimes it seems,” Jager complained. “For Westside commuters, this will be a welcome relief.”

The new line will also house three parking lots, totaling 1,500 spaces, according to Build Expo, who are constructing the project.

Test trains are being run each night from 4:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., seven days a week to prepare for actual use later this month, according to Metro.

One of those test trains collided with a sedan carrying six passengers last month when witnesses said that the Mercedes Benz attempted to beat a red light. There were no passengers on the train and the train operator suffered minor abrasions according to the LA Times.

Phase II of the expo line project has already broken ground and is slated for opening in 2016. The $1.5 billion, 6.6-mile project will extend the line from Culver City to Santa Monica.

Jager said that by 2020, there will be 27,000 daily riders of the new line.

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