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NORTH HOLLYWOOD : Construction Under Way on Subway Branch

The subway is under way in the San Fernando Valley.

About 200 people gathered Friday morning at the site of an old Red Car station to mark the beginning of construction of the North Hollywood branch of the new Metro Red Line.

The 6.3-mile branch, which will be operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, will extend from the famous Hollywood and Vine intersection in Hollywood to Lankershim and Chandler in North Hollywood.

The Valley branch is part of Red Line’s Segment 3, which will serve the communities of Hollywood, North Hollywood, Mid-City and East Los Angeles.

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It will cost $2.46 billion and is funded by federal, state and local dollars.

The groundbreaking ceremony was held just south of the future site of the North Hollywood Metro Red Line station, in front of the old Southern Pacific and Pacific Electric Depot on Chandler Boulevard.

The ceremony, which used a giant crane for the actual groundbreaking, was attended by Los Angeles County Supervisor and MTA Vice Chairman Edmund D. Edelman, Mayor Richard Riordan and other dignitaries.

On Dec. 29, 1952, the last Red Car pulled out of a station at this site. The Red Cars were a huge passenger-rail network that stretched more than 1,000 miles throughout Los Angeles County, including one mile of subway near downtown Los Angeles.

The North Hollywood Red Line route, which will not be completed until the year 2000, will feature tunnels running mostly under Lankershim Boulevard between Weddington Street in North Hollywood and Bluffside Drive in Universal City.

Excavation is expected to begin in April, with tunnel-digging machines brought in later this summer that are capable of digging at least 70 feet a day. The tunnels will be dug from north to south.

Two lanes north and one lane south on Lankershim Boulevard between Weddington and Chandler will remain open for local traffic.

The first 4.4-mile segment of the Red Line has been operating since January, 1993, near downtown Los Angeles and is carrying an average of 18,000 passengers per weekday. Segment 2 is under construction and will span from MacArthur Park to Wilshire and Western boulevards and Hollywood and Vine.

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Plans call for the Red Line to be extended over 25 miles with 25 stations when completed.


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