The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced Monday that one of its boring machines broke through to the Wilshire/La Cienega subway station site in Beverly Hills, a milestone for the Metro Purple (D) Line Extension Project.
“Metro has reached yet another milestone as it works to bring fast, frequent, and reliable subway service to the Westside,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti, who also serves as the Metro board chair.
“Tunneling to Wilshire/La Cienega is a big step toward completing the first section to the Miracle Mile and Beverly Hills and connecting Angelenos to the many destinations in both of those communities,” he said.
Metro’s boring machine, named Elsie, is 400 feet long and weighs 1,000 tons. It began working west at the Wilshire/Fairfax station last May 29 and broke through to the Wilshire/La Cienega station last Thursday.
Metro’s two tunnel boring machines were lowered into the ground at the Wilshire/La Brea station site in October 2018. They tunnel about 60 feet a day, 20 hours a day, five days a week.
Metro has completed two-thirds of the tunneling for the project’s first four-mile section and the excavation for all three subway station boxes.
When the tunneling is finished, the two boring machines will have mined almost half-a-million cubic yards of earth, which could fill about 2.3 million bathtubs with dirt, Metro officials said.
“This project is easily the most complex engineering feat in the modern history of L.A. Metro Rail construction,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “The subway travels through some of L.A. County’s most densely urbanized neighborhoods and beneath some of our region’s most challenging geologic conditions. I’m glad that our project team has had such great success in tunneling through this area.”
The boring machines manufactured in Germany by Herrenknecht AG are described as pressurized, closed-face machines that minimize ground settlement during excavation.
The Metro Purple (D) Line Extension Project is a nine-mile underground rail project that will extend the line from Koreatown to the VA Hospital in West Los Angeles. The first section of the project is expected to be complete in 2023.
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