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MTA Panel OKs $550,000 to Fix Leaks in Subway

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A key Metropolitan Transportation Authority committee Wednesday unanimously approved more than $550,000 in payments to Metro Rail’s biggest contractor to plug water leaks at two of the newest stations on the Hollywood subway line.

The agency’s construction committee approved the payments to contractor Tutor-Saliba-Perini to cover the cost of repairs at the Vermont and Beverly and Vermont and Sunset stations, which that firm built. The stations together cost more than $100 million to construct.

The payments are the latest to repair leaks at stations on the Hollywood leg of the subway, which opened to passenger service last June. The transit agency agreed in September to pay $359,850 to another contractor, Kiewit-Shea, to repair leaks at the Vermont and Santa Monica station.

Charles Stark, the MTA’s executive officer for construction, said the water was coming through a high-density polyethylene plastic membrane that was supposed to prevent the movement of water and methane gas through the concrete walls into the subway stations. He said that no gas leakage has been detected and that the stations remain safe.

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The MTA has been unable to pinpoint the source of the water leaks, Stark said. But he added that repairs involve using chemical grout to plug the leaks. The leaks occurred after construction of the subway stations was completed.

Rail critic John Walsh warned the committee that the water leaks will eventually cost the MTA millions of dollars because he said they are rotting away the iron reinforcing bars within the concrete walls of the stations.

Stark rejected that contention. “We don’t expect any kind of large-scale corrosion from it,” he said in an interview.

The MTA had specified installation of what was supposed to be an impermeable plastic liner inside the concrete station walls. The construction companies contend that the agency’s specifications turned out to be faulty and that the firms are not to blame for the leaks.

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So the agency negotiated payments to the construction firms for the costs of the repairs. The full MTA board is expected to ratify the committee decision next week.

Stark said payment for a great number of construction change orders at the Hollywood and Vine station, built by contractor Kajima/Ray Wilson, remains to be settled.

The MTA is also engaged in a legal battle with Tutor-Saliba over other cost overruns.


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