A major street that serves as one of the biggest spillways for freeway traffic heading into downtown Los Angeles will be closed for five months, starting next month, Metro officials have announced.
The transit agency said Sixth Street will be closed to all traffic at Flower Street from June 3 to Nov. 4, as contractors dig a trench for the Downtown Connector light rail project.
Below Flower Street, contractors are extending a new train tunnel to
connect the Gold Line tracks east of downtown to the Expo and Blue line tracks
on Flower Street. The $1.8 billion project is supposed to see trains running
from Long Beach to Azusa, and Santa Monica to East Los Angeles, in 2021.
All five eastbound lanes on Sixth Street will be severed two blocks east
of the Harbor (110) Freeway, meaning a major traffic portal from three major
freeways to downtown will be blocked for five months, Metro officials said.
Traffic coming south on both the Hollywood (101) Freeway or the former
Pasadena (101) Freeway will face a blocked offramp lane at Sixth. Drivers will
be detoured to exits at Fourth or Ninth streets.
Drivers coming north on the 110 from the Santa Monica (10) Freeway
interchange will be recommended to use Ninth and Fourth streets, but the Sixth
Street offramp will be open for them. But all trips on Sixth Street will end
just east of the freeway, at Flower Street, with a mandatory right turn.
Traffic from the Westlake Park area will be detoured before reaching the
freeway, first south at Bixel Street down to Seventh Street, then east under
the 110. Seventh has just one eastbound vehicle lane east of the freeway, after
its second lane was removed for a cross-downtown bikeway.
Metro officials posted the notice last week on their blog, and were not
available for comment today. Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti’s office could not
be reached for comment today.
Construction will include relocating three underground utility vaults
under Sixth Strfeet, and then cutting out the trench for the new rail tracks.
Flower Street has been torn up north of Fifth Street for months, as beams are
laid and a temporary deck installed to handle traffic during construction
Eastbound traffic, heading from downtown to the 110 Freeway on Third,
Fifth and Eighth streets, will not be directly affected.
Closures in past years at the soon-to-be closed 6th Street ramps have in
past years snarled the 110 Freeway and the nearby 10 and 101 freeways.
On the Metro blog, the agency’s staff suggested that commuters “make
sure to plan ahead and allow for extra time. Commuters might consider
carpooling options or alternative routes.”
Coincidentally, Sixth Street is also closed at the eastern gateway to
downtown, as construction continues on the $482 million Sixth Street viaduct to
link Boyle Heights with downtown over the Los Angeles River. That project —
replacing a landmark bridge that was crumbling — is scheduled to wrap in 2020.