Westside residents to hear Metro tunneling plans

Plans to dig a subway tunnel under homes and condominiums between Century City and Westwood will be discussed at a Metro meeting tonight.

Construction experts will be on hand to explain how homes, businesses, water lines and other structures will be protected as a pair of giant construction drills dig out twin bores, at least 20 feet beneath the surface, for the Westside subway extension.

According to Metro officials, the subway construction, and daily operation of subway trains, would not be noticeable inside homes or on streets.

The area being considered for tunneling below houses is one segment of the proposed westward extension of the Purple Line from the subway's terminus at Western Avenue, west along Wilshire Boulevard to near the San Diego (405) Freeway at Westwood.

Although no final decision on an exact route has been made, most of the construction would be under Wilshire Boulevard itself, according to Metro. But west of downtown Beverly Hills, Metro officials are considering bending the subway south of Wilshire, to allow a station in the middle of Century City, at Constellation Boulevard.

The subway would then veer back toward Wilshire by crossing under Santa Monica Boulevard and numerous apartments and houses, into Westwood. A station near the UCLA main gate would be two blocks north of Wilshire.

Those bends would mean tunneling under residences near Beverly Hills High School, under two neighborhoods west of Century City and near the Mormon Temple, and under houses and high-rise condos in Westwood, according to Metro.

Property owners will be paid if the subway tunnel is built under their land, Metro officials said.

The subway, often called the "Subway to the Sea," has been funded only as far west as either the UCLA campus or the Veterans Administration Hospital, on Wilshire Boulevard just west of the 405 Freeway.

Metro is also studying two potential subway segments that are not yet funded, including extending the subway west under Wilshire to downtown Santa Monica.

The other unfunded option is a branch that would split from the main line under Beverly Hills and curve north to the Beverly Center area, West Hollywood and connect to the Red Line in downtown Hollywood.

The Metro board is expected to make a final recommendation next fall.