Three years after the full 8.5-mile light rail line was scheduled to begin serving passengers, Metro has announced substantial completion for the initial segment of the Crenshaw/LAX line.

“The Crenshaw/LAX light rail line has been a decades-long community driven project. I remember years ago, as a staffer for then State Senator Diane Watson, hearing about visions of a transit line that would run down Crenshaw Blvd. and through the heart of my neighborhood of Leimert Park. This line is a testament to the vision and legacy of South Los Angeles leaders who fought for this investment in our community,” said Metro Board Member Holly Mitchell in a statement posted to The Source. “Our community has waited patiently for us to get here, and I am proud that we are delivering on our promise of a world class transit line that will provide tremendous mobility benefits to the Crenshaw Corridor and Inglewood communities.”

Metro is now able to begin its five-to-six-month testing period along the portion of the Crenshaw/LAX Line running between its juncture with the C Line at Aviation/LAX Station and 48th Street in the City of Inglewood. Walsh-Shea Corridor Constructors, the contractor responsible for building the beleaguered transit line, is expected to turn over the final segment between 48th Street and Expo/Crenshaw Station in the coming months.

Route of the Crenshaw/LAX LineMetro

But even when the more than $2-billion project is turned over to Metro, continuous service along the route will remain years away. Metro began work last year for the $900-million Airport Metro Connector Station at Aviation Boulevard and 96th Street. As a result, service will be limited to the corridor between Expo/Crenshaw Station and Westchester/Veterans Station when the line begins serving passengers in late 2022, with a bus bridge filling the gap between Westchester and the C Line. Full service on the Crenshaw/LAX Line is expected to begin in the second half of 2023.

However, another project could interrupt that timeline. Metro is also considering construction of a new aerial crossing for trains at Centinela Avenue in Inglewood, replacing the existing street-level crossing.

Beyond delays to accommodate infill stations and new grade separation projects, the Crenshaw/LAX Line has faced numerous delays. Since breaking ground in 2014, the project's debut has been pushed back three times from its originally expected 2019 opening date.