Metro’s Downtown LA tunneling project is moving right along

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Metro contractors are hard at work on the agency’s Regional Connector project, which will connect the Blue and Expo Lines to the Gold Line at Union Station. Now, the LA Times is highlighting the incredible magnitude of the project, which involves construction of nearly two miles of tunnel beneath the tall towers and bustling streets of Downtown Los Angeles.

The Times has released a fancy 360 degree video detailing the intricacies of tunnel construction (turns out, it’s not exactly easy work). As noted in the accompanying article, new technology has made tunneling beneath LA easier and safer than it might once have been, given the presence of explosive methane gas below the city’s surface.

The ground subsistence that caused parts of Hollywood Boulevard to sink during construction of the Red Line in the 1990s has also been nearly eliminated, according to the project’s chief mechanical engineer.

Now that LA County voters have approved Measure M, a sales tax initiative paying for new transit projects, miners will begin work on plenty of new tunnels in coming years.

An extension of the Purple Line subway to Westwood and a subterranean stretch of the coming Crenshaw/LAX Line are already under construction. A subway beneath the Sepulveda Pass, a tunnel beneath Atlantic Boulevard, and maybe even a Vermont Avenue extension of the Red Line could be in the works as well.

Once completed, the Regional Connector will add three new Downtown subway stations and allow for continuous rides between both Azusa and Long Beach and Santa Monica and East LA. The project is expected to open in 2021.

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