LA Places

Second Street Tunnel Gets a Dazzling New LED Lighting System

The Second Street Tunnel has been called the most famous tunnel in the world that nobody has heard of.

And now with a new LED architectural lighting system installed at the western entrance of the tunnel, it is about to become much more famous. Maybe now people will even know what the landmark is when they see it!

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Totally LA was fortunate to be invited to film the lights during a training session for city employees on how to run the new system and to demonstrate the lights to Film LA.  As of this publication, the new lights have not been officially been turned on yet.  For the most part the lighting will be used during filming and special events.  But Angelenos and visitors to LA will also be able to see the lighting during special events such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, or events like the Dodgers winning a game where it will be possible to illuminate the tunnels in the colors of the occasion.

The Second Street Tunnel’s “fame” is a result of how often it is used as a filming location.  It’s has been used in more car commercials than any other tunnel in the world. At one point it was averaging two car commercials per month being filmed inside it. It’s also a favorite location for movies and music videos. Some key movies that featured the tunnel are Independence Day and Terminator.

The popularity of the tunnel as a filming location is due to its unique reflective quality. The interior was lined with ceramic tile that cause lights to cast beautiful reflections through it. Both the reflective quality of the tunnel and it’s popularity as a filming location are what prompted the city to install the new architectural LED lighting system.

The lighting was installed by the Los Angeles based architectural and entertainment lighting company Forman and Associates. The project took approximately three years to complete.  Other notable lighting installations by the company are Los Angeles City Hall, the pylons at LAX and key landmarks in Long Beach.  

Be sure to see our earlier post on the Second Street Tunnel for more information on the history of the tunnel.  

Video of the Second Street Tunnel Lights by Mark Stout Photography.

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