Installation of new pipes at the site of a major water main rupture that sent 20 million gallons of water onto the UCLA campus is expected to be completed Saturday in Westwood.
Crews removed more than 60 feet of pipe from the damaged area and brought in new pipes in the 10600 block of West Sunset Boulevard. The new pipes are better protected than those that broke Tuesday, when a powerful geyser blasted through the street and caused flooding at campus buildings and parking structures, according to Los Angeles Department of Water and Power officials.
The break occurred at the Y-shaped meeting point of a 30-inch pipe installed in 1921 and a 36-inch pipe installed in 1956. Both pipes ruptured and blew open a 25-foot wide, 5-foot deep sinkhole. At its peak, about 36,000 gallons of water per minute gushed from the break. The pipe carried 75,000 gallons per minute when it functioned, carrying water from a reservoir to the north near the Sepulveda Pass, officials said.
The new pipe has a 3/4-inch thick mortar lining to create a barrier against corrosion and a thin layer of coal tar on the exterior surrounded by a 3/4-inch thick rock shield.
"It's far superior to what we were installing in 1936 and 21, and 31," said Jeff Bray, of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. "On the inside, we have a mortar lining that creates a barrier between the water and the steel so that we don't don't get any rust on the inside."
Installed properly, the new pipe should last about 200 years, Bray said.
Segments of the old pipe will be sent to LADWP Corrosion Engineering for analysis.
Workers had to wait to install the new pipes until after all water to the area was shut off and the sinkhole was shored up. An estimated 6,000- to 8,000-pound shoring "shield" made mostly of gravel will be placed in the exacavation site.
Water officials expected to put the pipe line back in service Saturday, however Sunset Boulevard would remain closed in the affected area. Crews will carefully adjust valves in the area when the water begins to flow to avoid stressing other pipes -- which could cause breaks or leaks.
Street repairs will begin after the pipe installation. Sunset Boulevard might reopen sometimes this weekend.
NBC4's Jonathan Lloyd contributed to this report.