Inglewood Football Stadium Necessitates Changes for Half-Built Crenshaw Line

To avoid a traffic apocalypse, Metro may build a bridge over Centinela

Construction on Metro’s newest light rail—the Crenshaw Line, connecting LAX to the Expo Line—is barreling ahead with an opening scheduled in about two years. Surprisingly, the transit agency just greenlit a feasibility study for a major design change for the more-than-half-built Crenshaw Line: a bridge over Centinela Avenue in Inglewood.

Officials believe the under-construction Rams football stadium in Inglewood—scheduled to open about the same time as the Crenshaw Line—will mean the planned street-level crossing for the train at Centinela and Florence avenues may be untenable. With trains zipping back and forth every few minutes, traffic could back up into the area’s densely-packed residential streets, especially during games.

Adding a bridge could tack $100-150 million to the already $2 billion+ project; the feasibility study will look into finding a source for the extra cost. Also, the bridge would undoubtedly affect the opening of the line. Possible solutions include ” a temporary track around the construction site or a bus bridge between the Downtown Inglewood/La Brea Station and the Fairview Heights Station during the period of the construction of the grade separation,” according to Metro’s blog. It’s hard to imagine the transit agency opening a rail line that requires a bus to travel from end-to-end.

A potential bridge isn’t the only complication affecting the Crenshaw Line. Metro just approved the final environmental report for a station at Aviation Boulevard and 96th Street, near LAX. That stop will connect to the forthcoming LAX people mover, allowing folks to finally take the train to L.A.’s main airport. The problem: the 96th Street station won’t open until at least 2021, two years after the ribbon is cut on the Crenshaw Line. Guess we’ll be Ubering and Super Shuttle-ing until then.