You may have seen that tunnel mining on the Regional Connector began a few weeks back. As the tunnel boring machine (known as ‘Angeli’) moves west across DTLA at a rate of 50 to 60 feet per day, crews at the future Grand Av Arts/Bunker Hill Station at 2nd/Hope prepare to receive the tunnel boring machine in mid to late May.
Concrete placement at the station — the deepest of the three new underground stations in DTLA — has been ongoing for a few weeks and you can see in these photos how the invert, or station floor, is formed. Once the TBM breaks through at the east end of the station, she’ll be ‘walked’ to the southwest end, where it will resume excavating until it reaches the intersection of Flower and 4th streets.
The photos also show the progress of the tunnel box construction beneath Flower Street. It’s a busy work zone as crews carefully maneuver excavation equipment approximately 40 feet below street level. Once the TBM cutter head and shield are retrieved, Angeli will be transported back to Little Tokyo to begin mining the second tunnel. You can read all about tunneling in this handy fact sheet from the project.
The $1.751-billion Regional Connector is a pair of 1.9-mile rail tunnels under downtown Los Angeles that will link the Blue, Expo and Gold Lines. The project is expected to be complete in 2021.
When finished, the Connector will create two separate light rail lines — one that runs between Santa Monica and East Los Angeles and the other that runs between Azusa and Long Beach. The two lines will share five stations in downtown L.A. The new arrangement will allow for more frequent and faster light rail service and will either eliminate or reduce transfers for most riders going to and through downtown Los Angeles.
The project is funded largely by the Measure R sales tax and a federal grant and loan from the Federal Transit Administration.