Newspaper staff follows a tunneling crew for a day on the job and shows a tunnel-boring machine up close


After five years of gathering funds and contests to name a tunnel-boring machine, work has begun on a subway tunneling project in Los Angeles.

The project, which was approved in 2012, will connect three lines in order to end the madness of changing to a different line to traverse the 2 miles separating one side of downtown from the other.

With construction 10 weeks in, the L.A. Times staff went underground to get an up-close view of the tunnel-boring machine and tell its readers about the work that is going on underground.

Related: News Brief: Tunneling Machine Inspections Conducted in Seattle

The view accompanying the story is a 360-degree video. Just use your mouse and move around the video as it is playing to see different views.

According to the Times’ story, tunneling begins at 5 a.m. each day. The machine averages about 3 inches every minute, so a 10-hour shift can cover as much as 70 feet if the conditions are right. The tunneling process encountered difficulty at the beginning because the soil under Little Tokyo contained the remains of the Los Angeles River floodplain. Once the crews reached the silt and clay soil known as the Fernando Formation, they could breathe easy.

The $1.75 million Regional Connection project is scheduled to be completed in 2021. Three new Metro stops will open at 2nd/Hope, 2nd/Broadway, and 1st/Central.

Related: Tunnel Machine Breaks Through in Seattle

Check out the video from the L.A. Times below. You’ll see a view of the operators cab, crews constructing the tunnel ring behind the tunnel-boring machine, and more. Read the newspaper’s in-depth story on the project.


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