At a ceremony held within the future Wilshire/Fairfax Station, L.A. transportation officials marked the completion of tunneling work on the nine-mile extension of the D (Purple) Line to the Westside.

Station portalGary Leonard

"This safe completion of tunneling through this part of Los Angeles is a milestone in Metro’s work to expand fast and reliable public transit across the region," said L.A. City Mayor and Metro Board Chair Karen Bass in a news release. "When completed, the D Line extension will make Metro transit available to 53,300 more weekday riders traveling between Downtown Los Angeles and the Westside."

Under construction since 2019, the $9.5-billion project is split into three phases, and serves neighborhoods including the Miracle Mile, Beverly Hills, Century City, and Westwood. The corridor includes seven new stops located at Wilshire/La Brea, Wilshire/Fairfax, Wilshire/La Cienega, Wilshire/Rodeo, Century City, Wilshire/Westwood, and a terminus at the VA Campus.

View of station platform and tracks from mezzanineGary Leonard

Funding for the subway extension was provided through the sales taxes approved by L.A. County voters in Measures R and M. Local money was matched with federal funds.

The first segment of the project, spanning to La Cienega, is set to open next year. The second phase to Century City is expected to follow in 2026, and the final phase running to the VA Campus west of the 405 Freeway is expected to open in 2027.

Tunnel view from Wilshire/Fairfax Station passenger platformGary Leonard

While construction may have commenced five years ago, subway service was once slated to head west on Wilshire a generation ago. An alignment which would have seen the subway run to Fairfax before veering north was eventually set aside following loud community opposition, as well as the explosion of a Ross Dress for Less store as a result of an underground methane pocket. The latter event, the result of historic oil extraction in the Central Los Angeles area, resulted in federal legislation banning tunneling through the Mid-Wilshire area for decades.

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