When the Metropolitan Water District building went up in 1996, the water agency thought they were paying more than $100 million for a fortress that would be super-resistant to earthquakes (essential buildings like hospitals and utilities HQs are supposed to be stronger than other structures), but now it looks like they might have to spend an extra $13.5 million to be sure. About five years ago, noticeable cracks appeared in the columns of the MWD building's underground parking lot (no, not because it's on a fault). To figure out what the cracks were all about, the MWD hired consultants ABSG to investigate. The results were not comforting. ABSG's findings stated "there would be a potential for building collapse under sustained strong ground shaking," according to KPCC. But let's not jump to conclusions. An MWD chief engineer says this "extreme type of result" needs to be backed up with more tests on the structure. But even he sounds worried, conceding, "I don't think that we got the highest level that we paid for." Speaking of paying for things, fixing this isn't cheap: The tests MWD is doing will cost about $1.5 million, and then there is $12 million earmarked for possible future repairs.
· Memo Raises Questions About MWD Headquarters' Seismic Fitness [SCPR]