If you’re looking for a silver lining in the COVID-19 clouds hovering over our state, you will find one in the significant reduction in traffic on California’s streets, which is making it easier for equipment, supplies and workers to get to job sites.

Traffic levels in the Los Angeles basin dropped 60 percent under shelter-inplace orders. So, Beverly Hills’ City Council recently approved speeding up the construction of L. A. Metro’s Purple Line subway extension to “minimize future impacts of the project during the future economic recovery period.”

By taking advantage of the lull in its usual influx of tourists, drivers and hotel occupants, Beverly Hills can get construction activity completed with little additional disruption and Metro will save time and money by speeding up the subway project. In tough times, this is modest good news – a win for Metro, for Beverly Hills, and our industry.

Construction will fully close a threeblock portion of Wilshire Boulevard and parts of Beverly Drive. The closure gives Metro up to six months of saved time in building its Westside Purple Line Extension Section 2, expected to be open in 2025.

The council’s okay allows Metro contractors “to complete decking for the Wilshire Beverly/Rodeo station sooner than expected,” said Metro spokesperson Dave Sotero. “It will help us minimize future construction impacts on local businesses as they struggle to overcome the impacts of the COVID-19 health crisis.”

Metro also reported that, for the Purple Line Extension Section 3, Metro has already been working with the city of L.A. Transportation Department (LADOT) to take advantage of reduced traffic volumes in the Westwood area to accelerate some lane closures needed for early construction activities.

Kiana Valentine, executive director of Transportation California, says the construction industry pledges to work with the governor, the state, local agencies, and project owners. With a nod to the COVID-19 scare, she added the industry would “continue to adapt and make all necessary changes to our business practices to reflect the most current guidelines…”