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MTA NAMES INDEPENDENT PANEL OF EXPERTS TO REVIEW METRO RED LINE TUNNEL STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY

 LOS ANGELES, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Following a nationwide search, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer have selected three experts with a combined 120 years experience in construction to assess the structural integrity of the Metro Red Line tunnel from Union Station to Pershing Square. The Independent Review Panel named today is made up of three experts in the fields of tunnel construction, concrete strength and geotechnical engineering.
 They are: Dr. Edward J. Cording, professor of Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Dr. John M. Hanson, distinguished professor of Civil Engineering and Construction from North Carolina State University; and Paul DeMarco, former senior vice- president of Grow Tunneling Corp., an expert in the construction of tunnels.
 "Collectively, these experts represent some of the best in the construction business," said MTA Chairman and Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alatorre. "A number of serious allegations have been raised. As a result, CEO Franklin White and I have moved swiftly to assemble this panel to conduct a thorough probe to assess the structural strength and safety of the Metro Red Line tunnel."
 Professor Cording, who currently teaches courses in rock and soils engineering, was a soils engineer for the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. He has extensive experience on a number of subway projects including those in Washington, D.C. Metro, Baltimore and San Francisco. He also has done extensive research on design of tunnels, stability of large chambers for subway construction and influence of earth movements on buildings and tunnels.
 Cording is the former chair of the Committee on U.S. National Tunneling Technology, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. Cording's prior involvement with the rail construction in progress is as follows: one day's work on behalf of Shank Construction to evaluate the impact of tunneling under the Jewelry Mart at Sixth and Hill Streets; and evaluation of the feasibility of excavating for the Hollywood/Highland station by "mining" from a side street rather than digging from the surface. None of his work was otherwise related to the design or construction of Red Line tunnel segments.
 Professor Hanson currently serves as the president of the International Association of Bridge and Structural Engineers. He recently retired as president from, but continues as a board member of, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, an investigatory engineering firm, which also conducts laboratory and field tests of materials and structures. Professor Hanson is an expert in concrete and was recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering. His former firm was hired in 1990 to assist with the independent investigation of the Metro Red Line tunnel fire.
 During his more than 50 years of tunnel construction, DeMarco has worked on numerous tunnels and was chosen for his "hands-on" expertise in tunnel construction. He has worked on such projects as the Queens Mid-Town and Lincoln Tunnels in New York, construction of a water tunnel in Hong Kong for the Chek Pek water project, tunneling under the Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta, numerous subway tunnels in New York, and construction of more than 32 miles of tunnel for a hydroelectric project in New York.
 Prior to his retirement in 1985, DeMarco was senior vice-president of Grow Tunneling Corp. He has been a member of both prestigious tunneling fraternities, The Moles and The Beavers, and was the recipient of the Golden Beaver Award for Supervision.
 The Independent Review Panel will also have the assistance of top structural engineers from the California Department of Transportation who will brief the Independent Review Panel on local construction conditions.
 "In order to maintain the independence of this panel, it will report directly to Chairman Alatorre and me," said MTA CEO Franklin E. White. "We intend to give this independent panel the latitude necessary to investigate any and all issues they believe should be addressed, and order any testing they believe should be performed, to resolve the allegations that have been raised about the safety of the Metro Red Line tunnel and the quality of the management decisions made during its construction."
 While the Independent Review Panel will itself determine its general scope of work and deliverables, it is expected to review the documents which provided the basis for design and construction. The panel will also be expected to assess the structural integrity of the tunnel and, in particular, those areas determined by prior testing to appear to be at variance with design specifications. The Independent Review Panel will also:
 -- Evaluate the thoroughness and adequacy of the geotechnical reports used as the basis for the design of the tunnels;
 -- Review the design and structural integrity of the tunnel, and determine compliance with engineering specifications, construction methods, and management procedures; and
 -- Identify and conduct any tests necessary to ascertain the structural integrity of the tunnel structure.
 The Federal Transit Administration, in a letter to CEO White, has agreed to monitor and evaluate the progress and findings of the Independent Review Panel. The FTA has also asked that the Independent Review Panel conduct appropriate testing of the remaining section of the Red Line tunnels, currently in operation, to ascertain the structural integrity of those tunnels.
 "We agree with the request of the FTA and want this independent panel to be thorough in its evaluation of the Metro Red Line tunnel. We have asked them to report in as expeditious a manner possible to put to rest the issues raised," concluded White.
 -0- 9/22/93
 /CONTACT: Michael Bustamante, 213-244-6591, or Jim Smart, 213-244-7443, both of MTA News Bureau/


CO: Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority ST: California IN: SU:

JB-MF -- LA029 -- 4934 09/22/93 18:18 EDT
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Date:Sep 22, 1993
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