Purple Line Subway Extension Can Safely Avoid Earthquake Faults, Experts Say
Metro staff and consultants at the Metro Board of Directors’ Planning Committee on engineering gave an oral report on geotechnical and safety issues about the building of the Westside Subway Extension through Beverly Hills, Century City and Westwood. The report will be part of the project’s final environmental impact report, which is scheduled to be released this winter.
The new findings are the latest milestone in along controversy between transportation officials and Westside residents about the safety and feasibility of extending subway tunnels toward the ocean.
According to Harvey Parker, an engineer and former President of the International Tunneling Association who gave the report on tunnel safety, tunneling under the Westside, especially the Beverly Hills High School area, will not compromise the integrity of existing structures, or interfere with future building plans.
Parker explained that with tests and demonstrations, they could conclude that building tunnel under the parts of the Beverly Hills High School campus would not have noise or vibration problems. No active or inactive oil wells have been detected underneath Beverly Hill High School. Also, the tunnel won’t have impact on the school during an emergency evacuation if an earthquake occurs.
“The project is not expected to pose new threats to the students, faculty, or community as a result of its construction and operation,” Park said.
Another consultant, James Dolan of USC, who performed research on blind-thrust faults in the Los Angeles area pointed out that no risk should be taken to build a station in fault zones such as Santa Monica Boulevard, but that Constellation Boulevard was acceptable to accommodate a station as no evidence was found that this site was faulting. Therefore, the report recommended the station to be built under the intersection of Constellation Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars.
“We did an absolutely exhaustive study to find the exact locations of where the faults come to the surface,” Dolan said. “There is no zone along Santa Monica Boulevard where you could site a station but the Constellation option is not impacted by the faults. “
An independent review panel signed off on the report, saying the report was “strong and well done” by very high quality staff.
However, L.A. County Supervisor Michael Antonovich criticized Metro staff because board members did not receive draft information or print copies before the meeting, which made them unable to raise well-thought questions.
Metro CEO Art Leahy explained that no one was favored in the process. Since there is no action item yet and there will be quite amount of time to explore this further, the report was only to gain input from “outside organizations”.
Beverly Hills Unified School District President Lisa Korbatov commented that it is unfathomable that Metro has had this important seismic data available for such a long time without providing it to the district or other interested parties in the purported earthquake zone. Metro's blog rebutted her claim.
“With its seismic data presentation, Metro has opened a veritable Pandora’s Box,” said Korbatov. “Our independent experts will immediately begin evaluating the findings and will weigh in as this process moves forward.”
Best way to find more great content from Neon Tommy?
Or join our email list below to enjoy Neon Tommy News Alerts.