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LA Metro advances Purple Line extension tunneling

Both of LA Metro’s tunnel boring machines have reached the planned Wilshire/Fairfax subway station site.
Photo – LA Metro


The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (LA Metro) contracted crews last week completed tunneling between the planned Wilshire/La Brea and Wilshire/Fairfax stations as part of the Purple Line Extension project.

A tunnel boring machine (TBM) reached the future Wilshire/Fairfax subway station site last week, marking competition of the first 3 miles of the initial 4-mile project section. The first TBM reached Fairfax last month.

The two TBMs were lowered into the ground at the Wilshire/La Brea station site in October 2018 and advanced about 60 feet per day. The machines worked five days per week, 20 hours a day, LA Metro officials said in a press release.

The breakthrough also marks another milepost in the decades-long effort to extend LA Metro’s subway farther west underneath Wilshire Boulevard, officials said.

Next, the TMBs will move farther west to the final Section 1 station at Wilshire/La Cienega. The machines are expected to reach the end of this first 4-mile tunneling section in Beverly Hills this fall. 

The $9.3 billion Purple Line extension is a 9-mile underground subway project that will extend LA Metro’s Purple Line from its terminus in Koreatown to the Westwood/VA Hospital in West Los Angeles. Section 1 is expected to be completed in 2023, Section 2 in 2025 and Section 3 in 2027.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/26/2020