The Crenshaw/LAX Transit Lines’s tunnel boring machine (TBM) Harriet began digging the first of two twin-tunnels beneath Crenshaw Boulevard on Wednesday morning. The machine’s launch marks the first time Metro has had an active TBM on a project since the completion of the tunnel under Boyle Heights for the Gold Line Eastside Extension in 2008.
Harriet began tunneling under Crenshaw Blvd. at Exposition Boulevard and will gradually make her way south toward Leimert Park. She is creating the tunnels that will include the Expo/Crenshaw, Martin Luther King Jr. and Leimert Park underground stations. The excavation is expected to take approximately 15 months.
A few weeks ago, Metro Board Chair and L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and L.A. City Council Members Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Herb Wesson visited Harriet while she was being assembled and prepared for launch.
For Source readers who are curious about how a tunnel boring machine works, this video from Harriet’s manufacturer, Herrenknecht AG, explains the finer details.
Metro recently received the parts of its second tunnel boring machine, which will be used on the Regional Connector project. That TBM is currently in search of a name. Like Harriet, you can also follow its progress via Twitter.