Image of 2nd Street Tunnel before the boring from the Figueroa Street end, 1921. Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Image of 2nd Street Tunnel before the boring from the Figueroa Street end, 1921. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

A nearly 100-year-old downtown Los Angeles tunnel regularly featured in car commercials, music videos and films, including “Blade Runner,” was closed for repairs this week after tiles fell from the walls and were found strewn along the road, city officials said Friday.

The City Council on Friday approved an emergency motion to spend $500,000 to hire two contractors to remove loose tiles from the 2nd Street Tunnel, and to perform any immediately required restoration.

The tunnel was closed Wednesday.

Bureau of Engineering investigators discovered that some tiling along the walls of the tunnel was coming loose, according to the motion.

Elena Stern, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Engineering, said the most immediate concern is safety, and any major restoration of the tunnel’s loose tiles will need to be a separate project.

“In the long term, the cause of the tiles loosening will have to be assessed,” she said. “Further action will have to be determined based on that assessment.”

Stern said crews will be tapping on the tiles to test if they are loose and need to be removed.

City transportation officials said they are hoping to re-open the tunnel by Monday. The tunnel was blocked off to vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic to allow for “emergency repairs,” according to a transportation department Twitter message.

The 1,500-foot-long tunnel is known for its distinctive use of white tiles, which reflect the tunnel’s light, causing a bright glow. It is frequently used in car commercials and has been the site of a fashion show and an Oscars after-party.

The tunnel was used prominently in Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” music video, and has also appeared in “The Terminator,” “Kill Bill,” “Flashdance” and other movies.

— City News Service

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