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Downtown LA’s Regional Connector subway tunnel reaches Grand Avenue station

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Tunneling on the project should be complete by 2018

Far below the surface of Downtown LA, a massive tunnel-boring machine has completed the journey between two future Metro stations being constructed as part of the agency’s Regional Connector project.

Known as Angeli (a name suggested to Metro by eighth grader Windsor McInerny), the 400-foot-long tunneler broke through the wall Thursday at the future Grand Avenue Arts/Bunker Hill Station, located at the intersection of Second and Hope Streets.

From here, the enormous machine will proceed to the intersection of Fourth and Flower Streets, before being taken apart and reassembled in order to dig the second of the two tunnels that will service the three new stations.

The 1.9-mile extension of Downtown LA’s subway network will link the Blue and Expo lines to Union Station, where they will connect with separate portions of the existing Gold Line. This will allow riders to make continuous trips between Azusa and Long Beach, as well as East LA and Santa Monica.

Construction on the $1.75 billion project officially began in September of 2014. The Source reports that the two tunnels are expected to be fully excavated by early next year, allowing for the Regional Connector to open by 2021.