BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles County transportation officials are taking advantage of light traffic during the coronavirus pandemic to expedite construction subway construction by shutting down a section of a major thoroughfare.

The closure of a couple of blocks of Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills will allow contractors to advance work on the Wilshire/Rodeo station for an extension of the Purple Line subway, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said.

Completing the work sooner is expected to in turn minimize future construction impacts to local businesses during the economic recovery period that follows the pandemic, Metro said.

Leaders in Beverly Hills, where high-end retailers of luxury goods on its famed Rodeo Drive have been shut down, approved the boulevard's temporary closure on March 31.

The Purple Line extension is being built and will add 9 miles (14.5 kilometers) to the existing route.

When complete, commuters will be able to travel all the way from downtown to the Westwood area near UCLA. The line currently terminates in the Wilshire Center area of Koreatown.