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Expo Line's Culver City service opens Wednesday

June 20, 2012 |  7:57 am

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The $930-million light rail Expo Line will finally reach Culver City on Wednesday, marking the first time trains will serve the traffic-choked Westside since the last days of the Red Car trolleys.

Transportation officials will open the Culver City station near Washington and National boulevards beginning about noon after a celebration with elected leaders.

Officials opened most of the first phase of the line in April, allowing commuters to travel 7.9 miles between downtown Los Angeles and the eastern edge of Culver City in about half an hour.

360-degree virtual tour: Expo Line stations | Expo Line time-lapse video

But they did not open two stations along the route: Culver City and Farmdale, which officials said needed extra work because they were added further along in the project.

The Farmdale Avenue stop, which is adjacent to Dorsey High School, also will open Wednesday. The station and a variety of precautions that were added at the crossing stemmed from a battle between Expo officials and the community over  safety.

The extension to Culver City is about 0.7 miles from the previous stop at La Cienega and Jefferson boulevards.

Crews are currently working on the second phase of the line, which will extend 6.6 miles west into downtown Santa Monica. That section is expected to open by 2016, at a cost of $1.5 billion.

"I'm real anxious to see it opened all the way to Culver City. That's going to open up huge opportunities for Culver City residents and the businesses in the area as well," said Rick Thorpe, head of the construction authority in charge of building the first phase of the line. "We'll see a lot more ridership pick up with the opening of that."

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-- Ari Bloomekatz

Photo: Metro contractor Alfred Lopez of California Neon Products spruces up artwork and signage at the Expo Line's Culver City station in advance of its official opening. Credit: Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times.

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