Metro celebrates completion of track work for Regional Connector project

Reaching a major construction milestone for the Regional Connector project, Metro has officially completed construction of all the track work, guideway systems and station platform areas for the Grand Av/Bunker Hill Station, paving the way for train and systems testing.

Metro has contracted with Regional Connector Constructors (RCC), a joint venture between Skanska USA Civil West California District, Inc., and Traylor Brothers, Inc., to design and build the $1.8-billion Regional Connector that will connect the A (Blue), E (Expo) and L (Gold) Lines in downtown Los Angeles, saving Metro transit riders valuable time by eliminating transfers and giving them a one-seat ride through DTLA. The entire transit project is now 90 percent complete.

Metro’s contractor has been able to achieve one of the best safety record of all of Metro construction projects, with more than six million hours worked without any lost time due to injury or incident. This is a testament to all the dedicated men and women working on this project representing one of the best safety records in the construction field.

The Regional Connector will also add equitable access to new destinations such as Broadway Historic Core and the performing and Visual Arts venues of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Colburn School, MOCA and the Broad Museum.

Officials took a train ride to the Historic Broadway Station as part of Monday’s media event.

The Regional Connector Transit Project is a 1.9-mile underground light-rail extension that will connect the A Line (Blue), the E Line (Expo) and the L Line (Gold) in downtown Los Angeles and will include three new stations that include the Little Tokyo/Arts District Station at 1st Street/Central Avenue, the Historic Broadway Station at 2nd Street/Broadway and the Grand Av Arts/Bunker Hill Station at 2nd Place/Hope Street.

Once fully completed and operational, the project is expected to serve 88,000 riders daily – including 17,000 new riders – and save commuters up to 20 minutes by reducing the need to transfer for those riding to and through downtown L.A. The project will offer seamless North-South and East-West rail service — with one light rail running between Long Beach and Azusa and a second light rail line between Santa Monica and East Los Angeles. The two lines will share five DTLA stations where riders can easily transfer. 

Construction of Metro’s Grand Av Arts/Bunker Hills Station has been a complex undertaking due to the depth of the station, which is approximately 100 feet below street level — the deepest rail station in the agency’s entire rail system. More than 33,000 cubic yards of steel and concrete have been used to construct the station. More than 90,000 cubic yards of soil was excavated to build the station.

With track and guideway work now completed, Metro has begun train and systems testing in preparation for revenue operations, which is anticipated this Fall. Workers will now be concentrating on finishing the station’s plaza concourse and ancillary levels, testing remaining HVAC and fire/life safety systems, and completing station artwork, elevator and escalator installations.

To mitigate noise and vibration impacts to the community’s preforming art institutions the Grand Avenue Arts/Bunker Hill Station uses a special type of floating slab track system. Here are a few more pics from today are below and an album of photos is here: 

Station Art

Also featured at the Grand Av Arts/Bunker Hill station is new artwork at the concourse, designed by artist Pearl C. Hsiung, that towers over 60 feet— the tallest glass mosaic mural in the Metro system. Titled High Prismatic, the work recognizes the ever shifting and dynamic geological and cultural landscape of Bunker Hill.View the time lapse video of the mosaic dry-fit process completed by Metro Art prior to the mosaic installation. At the train platform, a new artwork on porcelain enamel steel designed by artist Mungo Thomson titled Negative Space, brings a stunning image of the cosmos, captured by the Hubble Telescope, underground.

Site-specific artworks commissioned by Metro Art are featured at each of the three new stations along the Regional Connector Transit Project.Artists Andrea Bowers, Audrey Chan, Mark Steven Greenfield, Pearl C. Hsiung, Clare Rojas, Mungo Thomson and Clarence Williams were selected through an open, competitive selection process following the recommendation of a panel of community-based arts professionals. Learn more about these artworks and Metro Art at www.metro.net/art.   

For more information on the Regional Connector Transit Project and construction updates, please visit to www.metro.net/regionalconnector.

QUOTES

“This is our latest accomplishment as we continue to complete this vital transportation project that will better connect the entire L.A. County region to Metro’s rail system,” said Metro Board Chair and L.A. County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, representing the First District. “We are making great progress in reaching substantial completion and look forward to the Regional Connector’s opening later this year.”

“To get more Angelenos to ride our Metro Rail systems, we need a connected network that gets them where they want to go without unnecessary stops and delays,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board member Eric Garcetti. “The Regional Connector is the thread that will tie our network together, and today’s announcement brings us another step closer to this new segment that will save riders up to 20 minutes when taking our system through Downtown.” 

“The Regional Connector is a game changer for the region and will offer an alternative transportation option to congested roadways, provide significant environmental benefits and spur economic development throughout L.A. County,” said Metro CEO Stephanie N. Wiggins. “Through improved connectivity, riders will be better able to use the entire Metro Rail system, municipal bus lines and other regional transportation services improving their experience.”

Note to Readers and Editors: Metro Operators are crucial to keeping LA moving. Metro is currently hiring more than 500 bus operators and is offering a $3,000 bonus for coming aboard. This is a great career opportunity. Metro offers competitive hourly rates starting at $19.12 with benefits that include health insurance, tuition reimbursements, paid training, retirement plan options and flexible working hours. Please encourage friends, family and community members to become a part of the Metro team that provides excellence in service and support and keeps our region moving. Apply at metro.net/driveLA.

26 replies

  1. The way things are going, the Regional Connector will open in full before the entire Crenshaw Line.
    Great job on an incredibly complicated project.

    • Nope, I would expect a Fall 2022 opening, late October to Early November. Testing alone takes 3-4 months. Pre-revenue service (last stage before opening) is about 6 weeks.

      Believe me though, it would’ve been nice to take one 1 train instead of 3 (or 2+ 15 min walk) between the con and Little Tokyo/Arts District.

      Let that Settle in Metro, as of now it still takes 3 trains to get from one part of Downtown to another, remember that.

  2. Does “ancillary levels” for this Grand Av/Bunker Hill Station imply that this station will have a mezzanine floor? Same question for each of the other two new stations? On what level will the fare machines be located?

    • Hi Morris;

      The 6-high speed elevators will transport passengers from the Plaza (or upper Plaza) Level to the Concourse Level (where the event on Monday was held). From the concourse, passengers will have the option to take the stairs, escalators or the elevator to the platform level to catch the train.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • Hopefully the homeless don’t use them as a toilet like they do in the Red Line elevators.

  3. It’s sad when Metro makes it such a publicity stunt with so many “elected officials, with Team Regional Connector” hard hats on. And then they use woman of color, who clearly seems as she is being used as a photo opp, rather than for her actual service as a human being.

    Metro is so degrading and disgusting.

    It pulls back from how the riders feel, and their safety for their own amusement.

    It’s type for the Federal, State and local governments to scale back the funding used for this monstrosity of a transportation agency.

    No wonder Alex Villanueva is pulling out.

    Look at this joke.

    Come on Metro, care about the people of Los Angeles.

    And don’t even try and censor this comment from getting posted. 🙄

    • Most problems with be solved with the removal of the homeless population that never take a bath and only sleep in the train for hours.

  4. By current rules, someone changing between the A Line and E Line in one of these stations is making a transfer, and is supposed to TAP again. Imagine how silly it is to …. leave the platform, possibly going up to another level, and possibly exit the turnstile, TAP again and get through the turnstile, and go back down to literally the same platform, to complete the transfer.

    It is time to change the rules and require only TAP-ing once, and change lines without having to TAP again, as long as the rider is still within the paid area, same for all other interchange stations.

    • Considering how Metro is trying so hard to justify eliminating fares, and not even much enforcement going on, and knowing that almost no one is going to do what you just described, I wouldn’t concern myself with that. Not to mention, no one TAPs when transferring to purple line from the red line and vice versa.

      My guess is, if Metro suddenly wants to do the smart thing and enforce fare again, then 2 things will likely happen:

      A) Don’t require TAP again at all like when transferring between Red/Purple Line (most likely to happen).
      B) Add TAP validators on the platforms of Little Tokyo station, similar to how Pico station is now for Blue/Expo Line (somewhat likely to happen).
      C) Add Distance-based fares so people TAP in and out (Definitely not likely to happen).

    • More likely that they’re just going to put validators directly on the station platforms, as I believe they have at Metro Center.

  5. I have absolutely no more trust at this point that the project will ever open. Constant delays for literally every metro rail project does not instill any confidence, and I’ve run out of mine.

  6. Hopefully there will be a commemorative TAP Card for the opening! Sadly this means it’s the end for the L Line (Gold) though 🙁

  7. Nice to see members of Metro’s Board of Directors actually riding transit, the product they are in charge of. Too bad this is one of only a few times in their lives that they will be caught riding a train or bus, in front of the media and to garner publicity for themselves. You’ll never see them riding transit outside of opportunities like this. They won’t be there on the train once it opens to the public, dealing with everything us regular riders have to on a daily basis. It’s all fun and smiles before the line opens and when you get your own private ride, separated from the public and the thousands of people who have to ride transit every day.

  8. Wow – this is great news! And an impressive safety record by the contractor.

    Looking forward to riding straight through to Union Station and beyond! No more transfers at 7th & Metro.

    Well done!

    • Has Metro done studies at which stations they forecast riders will transfer once the RC opens?

      We know that 7th/Metro will remain the busiest due to the transfers to/from Red/Purple. Assuming that those coming from points northeast (Azusa, Pasadena) currently transferring to Red/Purple will make the more convenient transfer at 7th/Metro instead of Union Station.

      The question remains where some A to/from E transfers occur. Do those coming from points northeast going to West LA wait until Pico to transfer or do it at their first opportunity at Little Tokyo. It seems that Metro would want to encourage these transfers at Bunker Hill and Broadway since Pico, Little Tokyo and 7th/Metro each have increased platform transfers.

  9. So this will open before the Crenshaw Line? Why is the Crenshaw Line taking so long? Wasn’t it supposed to open in 2019 or 2020??

    • Hi M. Smith;

      No opening dates have been set for either project. On Crenshaw, segments 2 and 3 were recently announced as substantially complete while on the RC, the track work is now complete. As soon as we know when they’ll open, we’ll share the dates!

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  10. Hi Rick,

    Do you know if the Regional Connector would result in more frequent headways for both the A and E lines? Current headways are okay, but not stellar. Even 6 minutes makes a huge difference between reliability and frequency. To my knowledge, capacity was supposed to be 5 mins? Looking forward to your response.

    • Hi Metro Fan;

      Keep in mind that current schedules reflect some of the changes we’ve seen in ridership because of the pandemic. We’ll have a better idea of schedules and headways as the project nears its opening — please stay tuned!

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  11. When the RC opens for service. I am aware the “L Line (Gold)” name will be retired. But, will the E Line (Expo) be renamed to “E Line (Gold)” or will it still be “E Line (Expo)” but with the Gold color instead of Cyan/Aqua?

  12. open this line on halloween and thanksgiving and christmas and new years days at 12am. high speed elevators alike south point hotel and orleans hotel in las vegas nv for high speed elevators they are kone and otis high speed elevators.