Over the past two weeks, Metro has held a series of community meetings to offer San Fernando Valley stakeholders a first look at the proposed improvements to the Orange Line busway.  The $286-million project, funded by the Measure M transportation sales tax, is intended to speed travel times and enhance safety along the 18-mile transit corridor.

Key among these proposed improvements is an approximately one-mile bridge which would span between stations at Van Nuys and Sepulveda Boulevards.  The proposed elevated section would be similar to an existing bridge which connects to the Orange Line's Chatsworth Station, and would provide grade separation from busy crossings at Kester and Vesper Avenues.

The project also calls for 34 gated crossings at key intersections between the Chatsworth and North Hollywood termini.  The four-quadrant gates would be similar to those seen on several of Metro's light rail lines, and are described as innovative in their application to a busway.

At completion, the proposed improvements would offer a slew of service improvements to the Orange Line, including shaving end-to-end travel times by up to 16 minutes and adding 10,000 daily riders to the system.  The grade separations and gated crossings would also reduce incidents of vehicle-to-vehicle collisions at intersections.

The popular bike trail that parallels the busway would be retained following construction.

The project dovetails with ongoing programs for the busway, including a conversion to an all-electric fleet and the installation of new signal communication technology that will relay real-time information to operators.

A proposed conversion to light rail - planned to occur begin construction in 2051 under the Measure M expenditure - would need to be considered during the course of construction.  This includes considering center- versus side-platforms at stations, as well as platform length to accommodate rail vehicles.

Metro expects to break ground on the improvements in mid-to-late-2019, with completion scheduled to occur in 2025.