Named after an American hero, “Harriet” will create mile-long underground tunnels to serve light rail stations at Crenshaw/Expo, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and Leimert Park.
Mayor Eric Garcetti today marked a milestone in the construction of the Crenshaw/LAX Line light-rail project, as “Harriet,” a massive machine that will excavate tunnels to connect three underground stations, was lowered during a celebration at the Expo construction yard.
"I can think of no better way to kick off Black History Month than to name the Crenshaw/LAX Line’s tunnel boring machine after Harriet Tubman, legendary conductor of the Underground Railroad,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Mark Ridley-Thomas, who also awarded TAP Cards to student winners of the contest to name the TBM and create artwork that is prominently displayed on its tail shield. “I am confident that this marvel of engineering now known as ‘Harriet’ will carry on its namesake’s legacy of forging new paths to greater opportunities.”
The TBM will be lowered in segments and assembled in the next few weeks. Boring of the twin 1-mile tunnels is expected to last about 13 months, and when complete will connect three underground light rail stations: Crenshaw/Expo, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and Leimert Park.
“The ceremonial lowering of the tunnel boring machine marks an important milestone in the construction of this new light-rail line that will connect the communities of Crenshaw, Inglewood and LAX,” said Duarte Councilmember and Metro First Vice Chair John Fasana. “It enhances Metro’s rail system to offer more transportation options to commuters.”
“As we celebrate this exciting milestone for the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project, we want to thank the business community along the alignment for its patience,” said City of Inglewood Mayor and Metro Board Director James T. Butts.
The tunnel boring machine (TBM) weighs 950 tons, has a diameter of 21 ½ feet, and is 400 feet long. Manufactured in Germany by Herrenknecht AG, the TBM will dig 60 feet per day. When the TBM reaches Leimert Park Station, it will be disassembled and returned to the Expo Yard — where it will be lowered again and launched to excavate the second tunnel.
“The progress we’re seeing today is only the first of many exciting milestones we’ll experience in 2016,” said LA Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “In March, the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension to Azusa will open and in late spring we will cut the ribbon on the Metro Expo Line extension to Santa Monica. These developments demonstrate that investment in transportation moves our County forward now and in the future.”
Naming of the TBM is a mining tradition that dates back centuries. Since the 1300s, Saint Barbara has been the patron saint of miners, protecting them when they are working underground. This homage to saints evolved into the commemorative naming of tunneling machines with a female name before the digging begins.
The 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX Line is a $2.058 billion light-rail line that will connect the Green Line and the Expo Line. It will have eight new stations to serve the Crenshaw, Inglewood and LAX communities. It is expected to open in 2019.
For more information on the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project go to:
Metro is a multimodal transportation agency that is really three companies in one: a major operator that transports about 1.5 million boarding passengers on an average weekday on a fleet of 2,000 clean air buses and six rail lines, a major construction agency that oversees many bus, rail, highway and other mobility related building projects, and it is the lead transportation planning and programming agency for Los Angeles County. Overseeing one of the largest public works programs in America, Metro is, literally, changing the urban landscape of the Los Angeles region. Dozens of transit, highway and other mobility projects largely funded by Measure R are under construction or in the planning stages. These include five new rail lines, the I-5 widening and other major projects.
Stay informed by following Metro on The Source and El Pasajero: