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Metro approves subway extension under Beverly Hills High

May 24, 2012 |  2:54 pm

Commuters wait for trains at the subway station at Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue. The Purple Line extension would start at this terminal.

Despite strong objections and threats of legal action, Los Angeles County transportation officials on Thursday approved a plan to tunnel beneath Beverly Hills High School as part of a long-awaited Westside subway extension from downtown to the Westwood area.

Beverly Hills city and school officials had argued against digging a tunnel under the high school as part of the Purple Line extension.

The $5.6-billion rail project will extend nine miles west from the existing Purple Line station at Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue to the Veterans Administration hospital. It will mostly run under Wilshire except for a segment where the line veers southwest below the high school and into Century City.

"The subway extension is a critically needed mobility improvement that will create a fast, frequent and high-capacity alternative for the hundreds of thousands of commuters who travel in and out of the Westside on a daily basis," said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is also chairman of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority board of directors.

Transportation officials certified the environmental documents for the entire project last month, but only formally approved the first 3.9 miles of the project because Beverly Hills city leaders requested a hearing about the segment that would run under the high school.

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-- Ari Bloomekatz

Photo: Commuters wait for trains at the subway station at Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue. The Purple Line extension would start at the terminal. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

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