Will it ever be ready?

Metro’s 8.5-mile, $2.14 billion Crenshaw-LAX light rail line, which was originally set to open in fall 2019, has faced a string of delays. Now comes word that the rail line is unlikely to open until late next year.

In a March report, San Francisco-based PMO Partnership, an outside contract monitor hired by the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, laid out a project schedule that gave a date for “revenue operation” of November 2022 — one full year later than the previous estimate and three years past the original completion target.

“There are several hundred remaining tests before thorough systems integration testing can commence in earnest,” PMO Partnership wrote in the report. “The pass/fail rate for initial tests has been below (the) 50% range, which is abnormally low. The number of tests per week and acceptance need to increase dramatically to avoid significant schedule impacts.”

The report said project contractor Walsh/Shea Corridor Constructors, a joint venture between Chicago-based Walsh Group and 
Walnut-based J.F. Shea Co. Inc., needs to devote more resources to the project to complete the large number of outstanding electrical systems tests and wrap up other portions of the project.

Initially, complications with construction on the Crenshaw-LAX line forced a nine-month opening delay to mid-2020.

Then, in spring 2020, Metro pushed back the project completion date again, citing some construction work that needed to be redone. Metro set a new opening date of December.

But when December came, Metro said that schedule was being pushed back again, with both construction completion and operational readiness for some time this year.

The resource issue came up in December as well. At that time, in an attempt to speed things up, Metro took the unusual step of removing portions of Walsh/Shea Corridor Constructors’ contract, including some paving work.

Also at that time, a spokesman for Walsh/Shea Corridor Constructors said such challenges come with the territory for a large project like the Crenshaw-LAX line.

“The complexity of a mega infrastructure project of this magnitude will always present many challenges,” spokesman Brian 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.”

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