Regional Connector video: Storm drain demolition under 2nd Street in DTLA

The Regional Connector will improve access to local and regional destinations by linking three existing light rail lines — the Blue, Expo and Gold lines. But in the process of constructing the $1.756-billion project, Metro is also improving downtown Los Angeles’s public infrastructure.

Across the project, utility investigation and relocation has been a major task for crews to proceed with station excavation. In several instances, public records describing the location and condition of pipes and lines have been lacking and, as a result, crews had to physically search for utilities and apply extensive upgrades.

At the future Historic Broadway Station on 2nd Street, next to the Los Angeles Times building, a massive storm drain was found to be too heavy and fragile to work around. To dig down to the station’s final depth, project engineers decided to demolish the decades-old pipe and replace it with a lighter, modern fiberglass pipe.

The new video above reveals the scale of this work and sheds light on the type of challenges crews face when working below a dense urban center.

The last chunk of utility relocation work is now taking place along Flower Street at 6th Street, where crews are relocating an old network of power lines in conflict with the tunnel alignment. Ultimately, these upgrades are necessary to complete the Regional Connector and have the added benefit of extending the life of the intricate utilities system hiding just below our feet.

The Regional Connector is scheduled to open in 2021 and will include three new underground stations in DTLA at 2nd and Central in Little Tokyo, at 2nd and Broadway adjacent to the Civic Center and at 2nd and Hope, adjacent to the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Broad and Grand Avenue.

3 replies

  1. Kudos to the construction crews who have to search out where undocumented HV electrical lines might be (yikes!).
    The timing of this storm drain replacement seems a little too close to the start of our Rainy Season, hope that it goes smoothly.
    BTW the non-circular cross section of the old storm drain is unusual but I’ve seen it on other 100+ year old tunnels, perhaps a civil engineer has an explanation.

  2. This vid seems to ask more questions than it answers. I recall at least two out-of-season rains last month. Did they have to deal with water during the cut-over? Or was it high and dry the entire time? And it the original pipe was too heavy to suspend, how can the new pipe be suspended when it fills up with rain in a month?

    • At 1:38 and 1:43 in the video, we see the new pipe being encased in reinforced-concrete brackets.

      So the question is: will these reinforced-concrete brackets be suspended, or supported from below? In other words, will this be hanging over the station mezzanine/platform/tracks? Or will there be some sort of pillar or deck beneath each bracket?