A top official restated Metro's commitment to safety in the Westside Subway Extension project and its choice for the subway station in Century City at Constellation and Avenue of the Stars in a letter to Rep. Henry Waxman.
"Safety has been and will remain our number one priority when considering all aspects of this and any other project, from its construction to its eventual operation," wrote Metro CEO Arthur Leahy in a response to a letter from Waxman. Leahy also wrote in the letter that concerns raised by Beverly Hills about the safety of tunneling under Beverly Hills High School were addressed in the Final Environmental Impact Statement and "could be successfully addressed and mitigated using standard methods and good engineering practice."
In the following statement released Friday, Waxman said he is committed to ensuring Metro "fully complies with safety measures" during the project:
Decisions for the Westside Subway must be driven by safety and the best available science. I am pleased that Metro CEO Art Leahy reaffirmed these fundamental principles in his response to my letter, as the Metro Board prepares to complete its environmental review.
It is imperative that the system include a stop in Century City as the line extends to West Los Angeles. The proposed location for the Century City Station deserves particular scrutiny because of the major seismic challenges foreclosing station options on Santa Monica Boulevard and the concern that a stop at Constellation Boulevard would require tunneling under Beverly Hills High School.
It is vitally important that Metro abide by all of the provisions stated in their geotechnical and seismic studies and their responses to the scientific studies commissioned by the City of Beverly Hills regarding tunneling construction safety measures on the Constellation alignment. Many of these recommendations were also identified by the Independent Review Panel commissioned by Metro. I am committed to ensuring that Metro fully complies with these safety measures at every step of the process.
Leahy's letter is posted in full below. To read Waxman's original letter, .
The Honorable Henry Waxman
United States House of Representatives
2204 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Congressman Waxman:
Thank you for your correspondence of April 12, 2012 in which you shared your strong support for the Westside Subway Extension and outlined your concerns with respect to tunneling and safety issues related to this planned transit project.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is committed to building the Westside Subway Extension in a safe manner. Safety has been and will remain our number one priority when considering all aspects of this and any other project, from its construction to its eventual operation. At the direction of the Metro Board of Directors, during the past year and a half, our agency conducted extensive geotechnical and seismic stUdies for both the Constellation and Santa Monica Boulevard alignments. These reports, prepared by preeminent geotechnical, seismic and engineering experts, found that the Santa Monica subway route in Century City would pass within and through the confluence of two major earthquake fault zones and is not recommended as a safe location for the Century City Station. Conversely, the Constellation route was found to be outside of the seismic risk areas and is considered to be a safe location for the Century City Station. These findings were confirmed by an Independent Review Panel that reported directly to my office.
The Final Environmental Impact Statement found that tunnels could be safely constructed under Beverly Hills High School and that the concerns expressed about this route could be successfully addressed and mitigated using standard methods and good engineering practice. The School District's extensive list of issues that were addressed included risk of settlement, noise & vibration, gassy ground & oil wells, tunneling through fault zones, use of the school as an emergency evacuation center, impacts on plans to expand and remodel the high school and overall risks to students, faculty and community. In all of the above instances, it was determined that there are reasonable designs and mitigation measures to successfully address these concerns.
Thank you again for your thoughtful correspondence regarding the Westside Subway Extension. Again, as I have shared with you in our conversations in Washington, D.C. and through this correspondence, safety has been and will remain our highest priority when considering all aspects of this project, from its construction to its eventual operation. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly at (213) 922-6888 with any questions related to this matter or any other transportation issue.
Arthur T. Leahy
Chief Executive Officer