The LA subway to the Westside has its first new tunnel.
One of the two tunneling machines used for the project (nicknamed Elsie and Soyeon) broke through the wall at Wilshire / Western Purple Line this week, completing a two-mile journey from the future station at the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and La Brea Avenue.
According to Metro, a second parallel tunnel is expected to be completed later this month.
According to the Agency’s calculations, the machines will move almost half a million cubic yards of earth— sufficient to fill 150 Olympic-sized swimming pools — in the process of constructing twin tunnels.
This is just the first segment of the first phase of the project. The tunnel-boring machines will soon be moved back to the Wilshire / La Brea station and will begin digging west below Wilshire Boulevard to the future Fairfax Avenue and La Cienega Boulevard stations.
Earlier this month, Metro officials announced that this part of the project, which will bring the existing Purple Line from Koreatown to the eastern edge of Beverly Hills, is now halfway complete. It is expected to open in 2023.
Later phases of the project will extend the line further west. A second leg is added to stops in the heart of Beverly Hills and in Century City. The third and final phase will be the subway service to Westwood Village and the VA Hospital in Brentwood.
The full nine-mile extension is among the 28 Metro projects to be completed in time for the 2028 Olympics. The Agency plans to start the train service on the entire route by 2027.
Once up-and-coming, the subway is expected to be one of the fastest routes to travel between Westside and Downtown LA. Metro projects that a full journey along the route will take just 25 minutes.