On Monday, February 1, Metro Board members and executives joined elected officials, community leaders and stakeholders to celebrate the lowering of the tunnel boring machine (TBM). Student prizes were also awarded to winners of the TBM naming and art contests for the project.
Once lowered, the TBM will take several weeks to be assembled before being launched in the spring.
Calvin Mosley was the winner of the naming contest, which received 36.11 percent of the vote in this category. An 11th grade student from City Honors High School in the city of Inglewood, Mosley proposed the name of Harriet Tubman, the African-American abolitionist and humanitarian. Tubman escaped slavery and subsequently made some 13 missions to rescue approximately 70 enslaved family and friends, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.
Naming of the TBM is a mining tradition that dates back to early times. Since the 14th Century, 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.
Brittany Hernandez was the winner of the TBM artwork contest. A 3rd grader from Dr. Lloyd Owen Knox Elementary School in Los Angeles, her artwork received 43.57 percent of the vote in the art category.
“This is huge for Los Angeles,” said Garcetti. “It means more jobs, connectivity and it means we’re movin.”
“It’s just wonderful all the sacrifices the small businesses have put in for this project are now manifesting themselves into reality,” said Inglewood mayor and Metro board member James T. Butts. “Once we start the boring, we’re that much closer to actually having this great [line] serve and actually benefit the businesses along the Crenshaw Corridor.”
A segment of Metro’s “Harriet,” the tunnel boring machine (TBM) that will excavate twin 1-mile tunnels to connect three underground stations for the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project, was lowered underground during a ceremonial milestone celebration at the Expo construction yard.
“The ceremonial lowering of the tunnel boring machine marks an important milestone on the constructiMetro First vice chair John Fasana. “It enhances Metro’s rail system to offer more transportation options to commuters.”
Tunnel boring is expected to last approximately 13-months and will connect three underground light rail stations: Crenshaw/Expo, Martin Luther King Jr. and Leimert Park.
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.
Local restaurants Earlez Grill, Brooklyn Deli, Jordan Hot Dogs and Southern Girl Dessert all named a dish“Harriet” on Monday to honor the TBM.
The top three naming contest winners are Calvin Mosley “Harriet” (Harriet Tubman) 36.11 percent of City Honors High School; Austin Tebson “Eleanor” (Eleanor Roosevelt) 30.19 percent of West Angeles CDC’s Young n LA Bloom and Lauryn Brown, “Sojourner” (Sojourner Truth) 13.42 percent of Inglewood High School.
The three artwork finalists are first place Brittany Hernandez, 3rd grade; Jazmin Zepeda 3rd grader and Johnny Barrera 3rd grade. All are from Dr. Lloyd Owen Knox Elementary School in Los Angeles.
Metro invited students from K through 5th grade to create an art illustration and students from 6th through 12th grade to choose a name via a 200-word essay. Prizes for both categories are TAP cards loaded with fare value of $300, $200 or $100.
Metro received more than 230 essay and artwork submissions from students for the TBM Naming & Artwork Contest. Over 50,000 votes were received online.
“This has been a long time coming—we named it Harriet,” said Ridley-Thomas. “We can’t do this without being mindful of who’s dream this really was—Tom Bradley. We celebrate him and his vision of 25 years ago.”
“We do it all in the context of Black History Month,” he said
Brian W. Carter contributed to this article.