A boring machine dubbed "Angeli" began its underground journey Wednesday to create tunnels for Metro’s regional connector project, which will link up the Blue, Expo and Gold lines in downtown Los Angeles when completed.
Metro board members, including Mayor Eric Garcetti, were on hand for a ceremonial lowering of the boring machine, which was officially named Angeli — the Latin name for angels.
Will Rogers Middle School eighth-grader Windsor McInerny came up with the winning submission in a naming contest.
"Building out a 21st century transportation system means creating links so that people can get around L.A. County with ease," Garcetti said. "As `Angeli’ digs through the heart of Downtown, she is creating seamless connections for Angelenos from Azusa to Santa Monica."
Garcetti added that Angelenos will benefit from even more connections soon after another boring machine named "Harriet Tubman" completes digging work on the Crenshaw/LAX line, which will connect stations in Crenshaw and Inglewood to the Green and Expo lines.
The $1.55 million regional connector project is scheduled to be completed in 2021, with Metro officials estimating it could shave off 20 minutes in traveling time for passengers.
The full length of the line including above-ground portions will run a total of 1.9 miles, and include three new stations.
Metro board Chair John Fasana, who is a Duarte city councilman, called the start of tunneling "a major milestone toward the completion of a vital project that truly connects the region by providing a one-seat ride to downtown Los Angeles for users of the Blue, Gold and Expo lines.
The Regional Connector will reduce travel times for many Metro rail riders and make our system much more convenient and attractive to those who want a transit alternative to driving," he said.