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$230,000 SPENT TO REPAIR SUBWAY LEAKS.

Byline: Lisa Mascaro Staff Writer

The MTA spent $230,000 to repair leaks in the Metro subway tunnel near Universal City that caused corrosion, damaged safety equipment and, if left untreated, could have led to an electrical fire, officials said.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority plugged the holes with grout shortly after fire inspectors detected the problem last fall. The Los Angeles Fire Department has since given the subway a clean bill of health.

``There was no imminent danger,'' said Battalion Chief Mike Littleton. ``That's just something you deal with in subways. Water intrusion is common in subways wherever you go. I walked that tunnel a week after it opened; they had water in then.''

The Fire Department spotted the leaks near the Universal City Station in August during a routine review in the area between the Universal and Hollywood/Highland stations, officials said. The MTA had the problem fixed by October.

``It sounds a lot worse than it actually is,'' said Rob Chappell, MTA's director of rail maintenance.

Officials said water trickles through cracks in the concrete walls, then collects on the floor of the subway tracks, where it is drained or pumped from the floor.

In this case, the water trickled onto Fire Department safety equipment, corroding a water main, safety door and electrical boxes. Over time, it could have damaged cables and possibly sparked an electrical fire, officials said.

The MTA staff is asking the board for authority to hire a company that could provide on-call grouting services so future problems could be immediately addressed, Chappell said.

``We have an excellent tunnel, but any time you have concrete anywhere, (and) you have little cracks, water's going to find the path of least resistance,'' he said. ``When we have 2 1/2-3 inches of rainstorm, the water's got to go somewhere.''
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Mar 22, 2003
Words:302
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