Los Angeles County transportation officials Tuesday announced the winners of the art and naming contest for their third and final set of tunnel boring machines.
The machines will dig twin Purple Line Extension subway tunnels between Westwood and Century City starting in early 2021.
Their names, “Aura” and “Iris,” were chosen from entries submitted by U.S. military veterans and Veterans Affairs employees as well as UCLA students, alumni and employees, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Derik De Baun, a 2006 UCLA alumnus, was one of the winners for submitting Aura, which is Latin for “gold.”
Aura strikes gold by being one of the primary official colors for UCLA as well as a color on the seal for the VA, De Baun said, and it’s emblematic of the gold medals athletes receive for winning Olympic competitions, the summer games for which Los Angeles will host in 2028.
Clair O’Hanlon, a VA advanced fellow in health services research, was the second winner for the name Iris.
O’Hanlon said she chose the name after Iris Critchell, a living veteran and Angeleno who flew military aircraft during World War II with the Women Airforce Service Pilots.
During her military career, Critchell was an internationally recognized flight instructor and aeronautics and aviation educator. She also represented the United States in swimming at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany.
“Aura and Iris are two of our newest Angelenos, each of them tributes to our ambitious transit vision, our resilient spirit and our unyielding focus on building more connected communities and a stronger future,” Metro Board Chair and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said.
Royce Soohoo won Metro’s art contest for his digital art piece, “Purple Line Extension,” which illustrates his vision of an ideal community along the project corridor.
The machines were manufactured in Germany by Herrenknecht AG. They weigh about 1,300 tons, are 460 feet long and nearly 24 feet in diameter, according to Metro. They will advance about 60 feet per day once digging begins. The depths of tunnels will vary throughout the underground alignment, ranging from 50 to 120 feet.
The machines will tunnel five days per week, 20 hours per day and take approximately two years to complete their work.
The third section of the Purple Line Extension Project spans 2.56 miles and includes two new stations at Westwood/UCLA and Westwood/VA in Westwood. The final section of the project is expected to open in 2027.
For more information on the Metro Purple Line Extension Project, visit www.metro.net/purplelineext.
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