Preview of Metro’s Nearly Completed Regional Connector Subway

New downtown L.A. light rail subway due to open in Fall 2022

Nearly complete new Metro Regional Connector Grand Avenue Station - photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Nearly complete new Metro Regional Connector Grand Avenue Station - photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

This morning, Metro hosted a tour of the under construction Regional Connector subway, slated to open later this year. Local press toured the nearly finished Grand Avenue Arts/Bunker Hill Station, including a brief test train ride to the new Historic Broadway Station.

Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins touting the benefits of the new Regional Connector subway
Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins touting the benefits of the new Regional Connector subway

Metro celebrated an important construction milestone today: the completion of all trackwork, guideway systems, and station platform areas. Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins and three Metro boardmembers all praised the anticipated mobility benefits of the project, calling it a game changer.

Regional Connector map - image via Metro
Regional Connector map – image via Metro

Metro’s Regional Connector is a $1.8 billion 1.9-mile light rail subway below downtown Los Angeles. The project will tie together the Metro A (Blue), E (Expo), and L (Gold) Lines, offering single-seat rides from East L.A. to Santa Monica, and from Azusa to Long Beach. Once the Connector opens, many Metro rail trips that had required one or two transfers will be faster and easier, requiring  fewer transfers – in many cases no transfer.

Regional Connector construction got underway in 2014. The line was initially projected to open in 2020, but faced some delays and cost overruns. Now the project is 93 percent complete, according to this week’s Metro’s construction project status report.

As with other new Metro rail lines, the contractor turns over the project to Metro – when construction is said to be “substantially complete” – then Metro does testing and training for about six months before opening to the public.

With the Connector’s train systems construction substantially complete, Metro train testing is already underway. The remaining construction work – the three new stations – is expected to be completed by this summer. Wiggins, Mayor Eric Garcetti and County Supervisor Hilda Solis all announced that the Connector would open to the public in fall of 2022. Metro also plans to open the new Crenshaw/LAX light rail line this fall.

The Grand Avenue Station is located more-or-less behind the Broad Museum and the Disney Concert Hall; the station includes a new pedestrian bridge directly to the Broad.

Metro Regional Connector Grand Avenue/Bunker Hill Station today
Metro Regional Connector Grand Avenue/Bunker Hill Station today
Additional rendering of xxxx
Metro rendering of Regional Connector Grand/Bunker Hill Station
Bunker Hill Station today
Bunker Hill Station under construction today, including the new pedestrian bridge to Grand Avenue on the right

Given Bunker Hill’s topography, the Grand Station will be the deepest in the Metro system, approximately 100 feet below street level.

Regional Connector Grand Station ele
Regional Connector Grand Avenue Station mezzanine level elevators area. The artwork visible is the bottom portion of Pearl Hsiung’s 60-feet tall mosaic titled High Prismatic.
View of Grand Station platform and tracks, from the mezzanine level
View of Grand Station platform and tracks, from the mezzanine level
Grand Avenue Station platform
Grand Avenue Station platform

Grand Station platform view back toward mezzanine
Grand Station platform view back toward mezzanine. Note that when the Connector opens, the Azusa to Long Beach route will become the A (Blue) Line, and East L.A. to Santa Monica route will become the E (Gold) Line
New Regional Connector station name signage
For this editor, new Regional Connector station name signage confirmed that these stations have gone from an idea/plan to a real place
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Today’s Regional Connector tour included media, elected officials, and many Metro and contract staff that worked on the Regional Connector project
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The tracks along the nearly completed Regional Connector Grand Avenue Arts Station
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Metro Regional Connector subway tunnel

See also SBLA’s January 2022 post sharing above-ground Regional Connector construction photos.

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