LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Metro Board of Directors moved a plan forward today that would bring railroad-style upgrades to intersections along the Orange Line bus system in the San Fernando Valley.
The project's aim is to improve service times and safety while also allowing for a possible future conversion of the line to light rail.
``Metro is hard at work building the transportation network of tomorrow - - without neglecting vital improvements for our system today,'' L.A. Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti said. ``These projects will improve the rider experience for everyone who uses the Orange Line to get where they're going.''
The board approved staff recommendations to begin a formal environmental study of railroad-style crossing gates throughout the line and at grade separations at key locations along the 18-mile corridor. The project also recommends an elevated busway bridge from Van Nuys to Sepulveda boulevards.
Metro said it will now start the environmental review, preliminary engineering work and public outreach for the project, which would be funded with approximately $286 million for the Metro Orange Line Improvements project included in Measure M, a sales tax ballot measure approved by county voters in 2016.
If the project continues to move forward, groundbreaking on the upgrades is scheduled to begin in 2019 with an opening date approximately scheduled for 2025.
The board also added an amendment to further evaluate stand-alone grade separations that were included in a completed technical study as potential project alternatives and work with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation to further study local intersection impacts.
Metro said the upgrades could cut 16 minutes off an end-to-end transit trip in each direction while also improving safety.
``Metro is committed to delivering this shovel-ready project to ensure our valley customers have the benefits of a faster, safer ride in the future,'' Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington said. ``Combined with other major Valley transit projects we are now planning, we will effectively create an interconnected system that will literally transform transportation in the San Fernando Valley.''