LA Purple Line: $2.4 billion construction halted due to safety concerns

There have been 50 recordable incidents since July 2021 alone

Construction on the $2.4 billion Los Angeles Purple Line was halted last month, with Metro officials citing a worrying history of injuries and safety issues.

The letter from Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro), addressed to the Tutor Perini/O&G Joint Venture (TPOG) – the primary design and build contractor for the second phase of the project – on 21st October 2022 requested the suspension of all construction work on phase two of the project until early November.

Metro’s request comes in the wake of TPOG’s significant injury record throughout the project, with concerns first raised in July 2021. TPOG’s Total Recordable Rate on the Project has been above the national average since December 2020.

The letter states: ‘For almost two years, Metro has written letter after letter expressing concerns with safety issues on the project and the number of recordable incidents and preventable accidents that have occurred.

‘For whatever reason, TPOG has been unable or unwilling to take proper steps to address Metro’s safety concerns and the situation continues to get worse as illustrated by the number of recordable injuries since that time.’ The suspension of works on the Purple Line phase two came on the date that TPOG was holding a voluntary project-wide safety standdown, action that Metro described as ‘too little, too late.’

Attachments to the letter detailed a total of 50 separate recordable first aid incidents stretching back to July 2021, along with a number of stated safety issues. The letter concluded: ‘Things need to change for the better and need to change for the better now.’

What is the Purple Line extension?

 The Purple (D Line) Extension Transit Project is a critical new heavy-rail subway corridor in Los Angeles County, California, extending the Purple Line from its current terminus at Wilshire/Western in Koreatown, Los Angeles, to the Westside region.

The highly anticipated extension will add seven new stations and a reliable, high-speed connection to the Westside, the region’s second-largest job center, and among LA’s busiest areas. Work on the extension is being conducted in three phases, with the first commencing in 2019.

Section two of the three sections will deliver 2.55 miles of twin-bored tunnels and two new stations at Wilshire/Rodeo and Century City Constellation. The section is scheduled for completion in 2025.