Elected officials joined Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) executives for a community celebration in the Little Tokyo/Arts District adjacent to the Japanese American National Museum to thank residents and business owners for their continued support during construction of the Regional Connector Transit Project in downtown Los Angeles. The new rail line is now 50% complete.
“Transportation improvements aren’t just about building infrastructure — they’re about building new connections to the people and places that we love,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti. “The Regional Connector will bring those connections to riders across the region, and today’s milestone means we’re one step closer to a one-seat ride from the Eastside to the beach.”
The family-friendly event included various merchant display booths and exhibits and hands-on demonstrations, tours of the nearby Regional Connector construction site at 1st and Central, and a marketplace of local businesses participating in Metro’s Eat, Shop, Play local campaign program.
The $1.75-billion Regional Connector Transit Project is a 1.9-mile underground light-rail tunnel that will connect the Metro Blue, Expo, and Gold Lines in downtown Los Angeles. The project will include three new stations at 1st Street/Central Avenue, 2nd Street/ Broadway, and 2nd Place/Hope Street. The rail line 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 when traveling to and through downtown L.A. Construction is expected to be completed in 2021.
“Transforming the L.A. region through an aggressive transportation initiative has taken a giant step forward today as we reach a critical halfway point in this important project,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “When completed, this project will be a real game changer for the entire region providing greater connectivity.”
Completion of the twin tunnels for the project occurred in January of this year with the use of a state-of-the-art tunnel boring machine manufactured in Germany by Herrenknecht AG. The machine weighs approximately 1,000 tons, is 400 feet long, and is 21.6 feet in diameter. It advanced about 70 feet per day on average and mined 10,900 feet between the two tunnels and excavated over four million cubic feet, or 240,000 tons of earth.
With the completion of the tunnels, construction on the project has now turned toward finishing the three underground stations and the last portion of rail tunnel under Flower Street.
Metro has contracted with Regional Connector Constructors, a joint venture between Skanska, and Traylor Brothers Inc. to design and build the project.