Angeli, the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) mining twin tunnels for the Regional Connector Transit Project achieved another major milestone late last Friday afternoon (Dec. 8) when she broke through a wall of dirt at the underground Grand Avenue Arts/Bunker Hill Station at 2nd and Hope in downtown Los Angeles, after being re-launched to start the second tunnel near Little Tokyo earlier this summer.
Angeli was lowered into the ground near 1st and Central in late 2016 and began digging the tunnels in early February. In June, the TBM completed digging the first of two tunnels. The machine will now be repositioned to begin tunneling the last segment of the tunnel to 4th Street and Flower. Tunnel mining operation is expected to be complete in mid-January 2018.
The $1.75-billion Regional Connector Transit Project is a 1.9-mile underground light-rail extension that will connect the Blue, Expo and Gold Lines in downtown Los Angeles and 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. The connector will provide a one-seat, one fare ride for commuters from Azusa to Long Beach and from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2021.