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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Tar sands, maintenance issues impact LA Metro Purple Line tunnel project

LA Metro crews are prepping for the tunnel boring machine breakthrough inside the Wilshire/Fairfax Station.
Photo – LA Metro


[Editor's note: The headline of this article originally posted on Feb. 11 was updated Feb. 12 at 2:56 p.m. CT)

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) crews working on the Purple Line Extension project expect tunneling between the planned Wilshire/La Brea Station and Wilshire/Fairfax Station to be delayed until March.

Cross passage excavation, tar sands and methane pockets have slowed tunneling progress, delaying breakthrough of one tunnel boring machine to the Wilshire/Fairfax Station.

Tar sands create maintenance issues because the stickiness of the soil requires more cleaning of the conveyor system that carries the excavated soil out of the tunnel for removal, LA Metro officials said in a project update newsletter.

The extension project will extend the route 9 miles west of the Purple Line’s current terminus and add seven stations to connect riders between downtown Los Angeles and Westwood, California.