Metro’s often delayed $2.15 billion Crenshaw-LAX light rail line was supposed to be undergoing final testing by now in preparation for a May opening.

Instead, more delays have surfaced, leaving construction stuck at 97% complete for several months with no new opening date set.

The 8.5-mile light rail line was originally scheduled for completion in the fall of 2019.

The Crenshaw-LAX line will connect the Expo Line near the 10 Freeway with the Green Line in El Segundo, with key stops in Leimert Park, downtown Inglewood and a station connecting with the under-construction people mover at Los Angeles International Airport.

Complications with construction forced a nine-month delay to mid-2020. Then, last spring the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority pushed back the project completion date again, with construction to wrap up in December 2020 and the line operational by May of this year.

Metro officials said some of the construction work needed to be redone, especially the steel supports for bridges along the route.

In a Dec. 3 update presentation on the project, Metro said that schedule was being pushed back again, with both construction completion and operational readiness “to be determined” some time in 2021.

The agency placed much of the blame for this latest delay on the contractor, Walsh-Shea Corridor Constructors, a joint venture between Chicago-based Walsh Group and Walnut-based J.F. Shea Co. Inc.

“Contractor is not applying sufficient work force to complete their remaining work,” Metro said in the update presentation. Most of that work centers on testing of the electrical and signal control systems.

The agency said Walsh-Shea Corridor Constructors needed to add crews and supervisors to complete the testing work in a timely manner.

And, in an unusual move, Metro said in the memo that it is removing portions of work from WSCC’s contract in order to speed up the project, most notably paving work near Hyde Park. Metro inked an agreement with the city of Los Angeles to take over that work.

Brian Hill, a spokesman for Walsh-Shea Corridor Constructors, responded to some of the criticism from Metro.

“The complexity of a mega infrastructure project of this magnitude will always present many challenges,” Hill said in an email. “Ensuring that the appropriate resources and manpower is available to meet our contract requirements and complete the delivery of a safe public transit project continues to be our focus.”

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.