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Seattle shows L.A. how not to tunnel

To the editor: The same tunneling fallacies in Seattle, where a boring machine has stalled construction of an underground highway, are in Los Angeles. ("Seattle unsettled by massive drill tunneling through downtown," Dec. 23)

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is about to embark on tunneling in Little Tokyo for the downtown connector line and under Wilshire Boulevard for the Purple Line extension using the same "closed face" tunnel-boring machine technology. These machines are blind to underground hazards. The alternative "open face" technology can overcome obstacles and continue tunneling.

Metro also plans to used "closed face" technology if the future 710 Freeway tunnels are built between Pasadena and the Los Angeles-Alhambra border. Like Seattle, Metro is wedded to an outmoded tunneling method.

If the tunnel-boring machine gets stuck near the Times' building during construction of the downtown connector line, you will have another front-page story.

Christopher Sutton, Pasadena

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