News | PSR Students Visit the LA Regional Connector

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PSR Students Visit the LA Regional Connector

Sunday, December 17, 2017

by By Jacob Wasserman, UCLA MURP 2019


As massive tunnel-boring machines dig the Regional Connector, a new subway link underneath downtown Los Angeles, a "job walk" hosted by the USC AEC Construction Alumni Group toured one of the future station sites. On Tuesday, December 5th, some fellow UCLA urban planning students and I journeyed to the offices of Regional Connector Constructors, a joint venture of Skanska and Traylor Brothers, and met up with a group of USC construction management students and alumni for the tour. I donned a hardhat, boots, and a safety vest (unlike some other people on the tour, I didn't come with my own!) and walked with the group to the construction site at 2nd and Hope.

At the site now lies a giant, excavated "station box," a concrete-lined pit in which the Grand Avenue Arts/Bunker Hill Station will be built and then covered over again. Wires planted deep in the earth hold some of the station box's walls up, while others are supported by large beams hung between two walls. The twin tunnels of the Regional Connector will come through either end of the box. According to a presentation given to us afterwards, crews are at work constantly, in three eight-hour shifts, digging out the tunnels with the massive tunnel-boring machine "Angeli." One of the tunnels is already complete, while the other was just days away from breaking through one end of the station box we toured.

Photo by Jacob Wasserman

Looking over the mouth of the station box was a humbling view. Over the next few years, the tunnels will be finished, the track laid, the electrical systems wired, the elevators installed, the station interiors decorated, and the plaza on top built. The Skanska group responsible for construction will bring the station virtually all the way to completion before handing it over to Metro to open and operate. Seeing the rebar insides and open cavities of the station-to-be offered a unique look at the years-long work that go into the transit systems beneath our feet.


From left to right: Katelyn Stangl (UCLA MURP '19), Forest Barnes (UCLA MURP '19), Jacob Wasserman (UCLA MURP '19), and Ribeka Toda (UCLA MURP '18).


About the Author: Jacob Wasserman

Jacob Wasserman is a first-year Master of Urban and Regional Planning student at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, focusing on equity and finance within the Transportation Policy and Planning concentration. Outside of school, he works on transportation demand management policy, capital planning, and development review at the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. Originally from University Park, Maryland, Jacob previously worked as a San Francisco Fellow for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, where he developed public-facing dashboards and internal process improvements for the capital budget. Before moving to California, he managed the New Haven Department of Transportation, Traffic, and Parking's goNewHavengo initiative—a resource, contest, and rewards program for alternative transportation—and was elected to the city’s Democratic Town Committee. Jacob has published multiple articles on urban history, tutors elementary-school students, and volunteers on local electoral campaigns. He can be reached at [email protected].