The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is launching a construction project Tuesday to improve bus connections at downtown L.A.'s Union Station with a pedestrian bridge and a covered bus platform.
The first phase of the work will shut down the on- and off-ramps at Vignes Street on the northbound 101 for four months.
The project is designed to provide a safer and faster connection for riders of the Metro Silver Line rapid bus and several Foothill Transit lines that serve the San Gabriel Valley.
Currently, those bus riders — about 3,000 a day — are let off on Alameda Street south of the station and must walk a quarter of a mile, crossing multiple streets, including a freeway on-ramp, to transfer to buses and trains at Union Station.
The new project will add a covered bus platform and a 500-foot pedestrian bridge that will directly link the bus stop with the Patsaouras bus plaza on the east side of the station.
Ridership on the Silver Line, which connects the South Bay with downtown and El Monte, has been steadily growing even as Metro bus ridership has declined in recent years.
The project to improve the connection to Union Station has been planned for years, but has been plagued by delays and a ballooning budget. It's now set to cost $31 million, about double the original estimate, funded in part by a federal grant.
Metro expects to finish construction by the spring of 2018.