Scientists testify before Metro Board, opposing tunneling under high school

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The Los Angeles County Metro board heard hours of testimony on Thursday from scientists Beverly Hills officials hired to oppose tunneling the subway under that city’s high school.

The two sides disagree over where to locate the next leg of the Westside subway.

Scientists illustrated their testimony with graphs and maps on screens, as Metro Board members stared into their computers trying to focus and follow the presentation.

The conflict involves what runs underground now: seismic fault lines and methane gas. Metro officials said their scientists determined that routing the Westside subway under Santa Monica Boulevard would run into trouble because of fault lines there.

Instead, the transit board wants the subway to zip under the high school in 90210. That would place the station on Century Boulevard at Avenue of the Stars. Beverly Hills school and city officials say that tunneling under the school is too risky because of old gas lines and methane beneath the buildings and grounds.

"It’s not a little drill and 'Oops!' a little escape of gas," said Roberts, head of the Beverly Hills High Parents Council. "It’s a potential kaboom. And why take that risk if it doesn’t have to be? That’s the bottom line."

Transit agency officials have said their studies don’t indicate any problems with drilling under the school.

The Metro Board is expected to make a decision next Thursday. Beverly Hills school officials say that if that vote doesn’t go their way, they plan to drill the matter right into the courts.

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