Metro Blue Line upgrades will cause closures beginning Saturday

The Metro Blue Line's upcoming $350 million modernization project will necessitate some closures for needed upgrades to keep the system operating at a reliable level, officials said Wednesday.

The closure will begin Saturday and result in portions of the line being temporarily closed for two extended four-month periods.

Work to modernize the Blue Line, which is Metro's oldest rail line at 28 years, has been ongoing since 2014.

"For decades, the Blue Line has been the workhorse of Metro's rail system," L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn said. "Not only is it our oldest line, it is also the busiest and is in dire need of improvements. These upgrades and repairs are going to inconvenience a lot of people but when the Blue Line reopens riders are going to get a more reliable and more comfortable commute."

Work on the Blue Line will include improvements to the signaling, tracks and the overhead wires that deliver electricity to trains, according to Metro, and four new crossover tracks will be built to reduce service interruptions. A number of station improvements are also slated to be part of the project, including new digital map cases, signage, paint and landscaping.

"Long Beach residents rely every day on the Blue Line to access jobs and services throughout L.A. County," Long Beach Mayor and Metro Board Member Robert Garcia said. "This project will ensure the Blue Line can operate for years to come as the important transit connection we know it to be.

The closure will be difficult for many of us, but Metro will offer a variety of bus shuttles to minimize the inconvenience to Blue Line customers."

From Saturday through May, rail service is scheduled to be suspended from the 103rd St/Watts Towers Station to the Downtown Long Beach Station and replaced by expanded shuttle bus service, but the Blue Line will continue running between the Seventh St/Metro Center and 103rd St/Watts Towers Station.

From May to September, rail service is scheduled to be suspended from the Blue Line Compton Station to the Seventh St/Metro Center and replaced by bus shuttles, but the Blue Line will continue running between the Compton Station and the Downtown Long Beach Station and Red and Purple Line service will operate normally at the Seventh St/Metro Center.

During the Compton Station closure, Expo Line rail service will be suspended for 45 days at Seventh St/Metro Center and Pico Station with train service in that segment replaced by bus shuttles. Expo Line trains will continue to run between LATTC/Ortho Institute Station and Downtown Santa Monica, Metro said.

CNS contributed to this report.