New signage showing where the Expo and A lines meet at Pico station. (Metro)

The construction on the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s A Line — formerly known as the Blue Line — will soon come to an end and the line is expected to reopen on Saturday, Nov. 2.

The reopening of the A Line was announced last week when Metro officials said they will offer three days of free rides on the newly upgraded light rail line starting Saturday and going through Monday, Nov. 4.

The A Line opened in 1990 and is Metro’s oldest rail line, according to a news release from Metro. The line has historically had the highest ridership out of all of Metro’s light rail lines because it connects riders in Long Beach and the greater areas of Los Angeles to places like Santa Monica and Hollywood.

In 2019, Metro began the $350-million New Blue Improvements Project to increase the reliability of Metro’s oldest light rail line with four new switches, an upgraded control system and a new overhead power system, officials previously announced. Station upgrades were also performed to include interactive digital information screens, new station identifiers, refreshed paint and new digital artwork.

The modernization efforts forced the closure of the southern half of the A Line but work on the southern segment was completed June 1. However, closures began on the northern half of the line, which disrupted Expo Line Service at the 7th St/Metro Center and Pico stations.

Nearly three-quarters of a year have passed, but with the work now completed, rail service on the entire 22-mile A Line between downtown Los Angeles and downtown Long Beach will return to full service.

“We are excited that Metro’s oldest light rail line will be back in service between Los Angeles and Long Beach and we want to thank our customers for their patience during the modernization work this year,” said Metro Board Chair James Butts in a news release. “The A Line is a lifeline for the many diverse communities between Los Angeles and Long Beach who rely on reliable rail service to help them reach jobs, school, family and other vital destinations in our region.”

The A Line is the first rail line to employ Metro’s new naming convention in which its rail and bus rapid transit lines will be designated with letters and colors, according to Metro officials. The new naming convention was approved in 2018 and designed to make the agency’s growing system easier to navigate.

“We believe that a greatly improved A Line will better serve existing riders and also attract new customers to the Metro system,” said Metro CEO Phillip Washington. “Even as we work to expand our system, Metro’s State of Good Repair program is devoted to taking care of and improving what we already have and extending the lifespan of our assets. That benefits everyone, (including) our riders and the taxpayers who support our system.”

brennon@smdp.com

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