At the intersection of 7th and Flower streets downtown, work on a Metro Rail station has moved underground. Gone are the cranes, trucks, traffic interruptions and noise.
Below street level, jackhammers still rattle away in semidarkness. Phase Two of the construction has workers installing plumbing, electrical systems, floors and walls for the station, called Metro Center.
The job is scheduled to be completed and the station opened on Feb. 14.
Metro Center will be a transfer point for the Blue and Red lines. The Blue Line is an above-ground, light-rail system already running between Long Beach and a station at Pico Boulevard and Flower Street, just south of downtown. It will dip underground from that point to the Metro Center terminus.
The first segment of the Red Line, a subway, will run from Union Station to stops at 1st and Hill streets, 5th and Hill streets and Metro Center, then on to a station at Wilshire Boulevard and Alvarado Street. It is scheduled to start operation in late 1993.
Metro Center has two vault-like levels, the Blue Line above and the Red Line beneath. When the Blue Line station opens, passengers will be shielded from the noise and dust of the Red Line construction.
More than 52,000 cubic yards of concrete and 9 million pounds of steel were used to build the project, according to transportation officials. More than 170,000 cubic yards of dirt were excavated. But at street level, the only sign of all that work will be three entrances.