By RICK JAGER
Reaching a major construction milestone for the Regional Connector project, Metro announced April 18 it has officially completed construction of all the track work, guideway systems and station platform areas for the Grand Avenue/Bunker Hill Station, paving the way for train and systems testing.
Metro has contracted with Regional Connector Constructors (RCC), a joint venture between Skanska USA Civil West California District, Inc., and Traylor Brothers, Inc., to design and build the $1.8-billion Regional Connector that will connect the A (Blue), E (Expo) and L (Gold) Lines in Downtown Los Angeles, saving Metro transit riders valuable time by eliminating transfers and giving them a one-seat ride through DTLA. The entire transit project is now 90 percent complete.
Metro’s contractor has been able to achieve one of the best safety records of all of Metro construction projects, with more than six million hours worked without any lost time due to injury or incident. This is a testament to all the dedicated men and women working on this project representing one of the best safety records in the construction field.
The Regional Connector will also add equitable access to new destinations such as Broadway Historic Core and the performing and visual arts venues of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Colburn School, MOCA and the Broad Museum.
Officials took a train ride to the Historic Broadway Station as part of last week’s media event.
The Regional Connector Transit Project is a 1.9-mile underground light-rail extension that will connect the A Line (Blue), the E Line (Expo) and the L Line (Gold) in Downtown Los Angeles and will include three new stations that include the Little Tokyo/Arts District Station at First Street/Central Avenue, the Historic Broadway Station at Second Street/Broadway and the Grand Avenue Arts/Bunker Hill Station at Second Place/Hope Street.
Once fully completed and operational, the project 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 for those riding to and through Downtown L.A. The project will offer seamless north-south and east-west rail service — with one light rail running between Long Beach and Azusa and a second light rail line between Santa Monica and East Los Angeles. The two lines will share five DTLA stations where riders can easily transfer.
“This is our latest accomplishment as we continue to complete this vital transportation project that will better connect the entire L.A. County region to Metro’s rail system,” said Metro Board Chair and L.A. County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, representing the First District. “We are making great progress in reaching substantial completion and look forward to the Regional Connector’s opening later this year.”
“To get more Angelenos to ride our Metro Rail systems, we need a connected network that gets them where they want to go without unnecessary stops and delays,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board member Eric Garcetti. “The Regional Connector is the thread that will tie our network together, and today’s announcement brings us another step closer to this new segment that will save riders up to 20 minutes when taking our system through Downtown.”
“The Regional Connector is a game-changer for the region and will offer an alternative transportation option to congested roadways, provide significant environmental benefits and spur economic development throughout L.A. County,” said Metro CEO Stephanie N. Wiggins. “Through improved connectivity, riders will be better able to use the entire Metro Rail system, municipal bus lines and other regional transportation services improving their experience.”
Construction of Metro’s Grand Avenue Arts/Bunker Hills Station has been a complex undertaking due to the depth of the station, which is approximately 100 feet below street level — the deepest rail station in the agency’s entire rail system. More than 33,000 cubic yards of steel and concrete have been used to construct the station. More than 90,000 cubic yards of soil was excavated to build the station.
With track and guideway work now completed, Metro has begun train and systems testing in preparation for revenue operations, which is anticipated this fall. Workers will now be concentrating on finishing the station’s plaza concourse and ancillary levels, testing remaining HVAC and fire/life safety systems, and completing station artwork, elevator and escalator installations.
To mitigate noise and vibration impacts to the community’s preforming art institutions the Grand Avenue Arts/Bunker Hill Station uses a special type of floating slab track system.
Also featured at the Grand Avenue Arts/Bunker Hill station is new artwork at the concourse, designed by artist Pearl C. Hsiung, that towers over 60 feet — the tallest glass mosaic mural in the Metro system. Titled “High Prismatic,” the work recognizes the ever-shifting and dynamic geological and cultural landscape of Bunker Hill. At the train platform, a new artwork on porcelain enamel steel designed by artist Mungo Thomson titled “Negative Space” brings a stunning image of the cosmos, captured by the Hubble Telescope, underground.
Site-specific artworks commissioned by Metro Art are featured at each of the three new stations along the Regional Connector Transit Project. Artists Andrea Bowers, Audrey Chan, Mark Steven Greenfield, Pearl C. Hsiung, Clare Rojas, Mungo Thomson and Clarence Williams were selected through an open, competitive selection process following the recommendation of a panel of community-based arts professionals. Learn more about these artworks and Metro Art at www.metro.net/art.
For more information on the Regional Connector Transit Project and construction updates, visit www.metro.net/regionalconnector.