A ceremonial naming and lowering of the tunnel boring machine that will dig the twin tunnels for the Regional Connector project in downtown L.A. was held today in Little Tokyo at the site of the future 1st/Central Station.
A few details:
•Excavation work will begin in January and proceed from 1st/Central Station toward 4th and Flower. Once there, the TBM will be taken apart, returned to Little Tokyo and then lowered back into the ground to dig the other rail tunnel.
•The TBM will be known as “Angeli,” a name submitted by 8th grade student Windsor McInerny — a 9th grader attending Woodrow Wilson Classical High School in Long Beach — as part of the TBM naming contest. The winning illustration was by Alexander Li, a senior at Adolfo Camarillo High School in Ventura County. The top finishers in both contests are here.
•The TBM was manufactured in Germany by Herrenknecht AG. It weighs approximately 1,000 tons, is 450 feet long and is 21.5 feet in diameter. It will advance about 60 feet per day once digging begins and will take 16 to 18 months to excavate the twin 1.1-mile tunnels.
•The $1.55-billion Regional Connector will tie together the Blue, Expo and Gold Lines via the 1.9-mile twin tunnels. That will allow for quicker light rail rides to and through DTLA with far fewer transfers.
•There will be three new stations: 1st/Central (replacing the current street level Little Tokyo/Arts District Station on the Gold Line), 2nd/Broadway (adjacent to the Civic Center) and 2nd/Hope, which will serve destinations on Grand Avenue, including the Music Center, Disney Hall, the Broad and MOCA.
•The project is expected to be complete in 2021. Decking work is also underway for the cut-and-cover section on Flower Street between 3rd and 5th streets.
•The project is funded by Measure R — the sales tax ballot measure approved by L.A. County voters in 2008 — and a federal grant, loan and other state monies.