Reaching a major construction milestone for the Regional Connector Transit Project, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has officially completed construction of all the trackwork, guideway systems and station platform areas for the Grand Av/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 Transit Project that will connect all Metro light rail lines in downtown Los Angeles, saving Metro transit riders valuable time by eliminating transfers and giving them a one-seat ride through the downtown area. The entire transit project is now 90 percent complete.
Metro’s contractor has been able to achieve one of the best safety record 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.
“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.”
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 1st Street/Central Avenue, the Historic Broadway Station at 2nd Street/Broadway and the Grand Av Arts/Bunker Hill Station at 2nd 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 connecting Long Beach to Azusa and Santa Monica to East Los Angeles.
“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.”
Construction of Metro’s Grand Av Arts/Bunker Hills Station has been a complex undertaking due to the depth of the station, which is approximately 100 feet below ground 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.
“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.”
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 Av 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. View the time lapse video of the mosaic dry-fit process completed by Metro Art prior to the mosaic installation. 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 metroexemplifi.wpengine.com/art.
For more information on the Regional Connector Transit Project and construction updates, please visit to metroexemplifi.wpengine.com/regionalconnector.
Editor’s Note: Metro Operators are crucial to keeping LA moving. Metro is currently hiring more than 500 bus operators and is offering a $3,000 bonus for coming aboard. This is a great career opportunity. Metro offers competitive hourly rates starting at $19.12 with benefits that include health insurance, tuition reimbursements, paid training, retirement plan options and flexible working hours. Please encourage friends, family and community members to become a part of the Metro team that provides excellence in service and support and keeps our region moving. Apply at metro.net/driveLA.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is currently providing lifeline service for essential trips and frontline workers. Metro continues building the most ambitious transportation infrastructure program in the United States and is working to greatly improve mobility through its Vision 2028 Plan.
Metro has proudly pledged to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Health and Safety Commitment Program to help ensure the safe return of transit riders as the U.S. recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
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