Hundreds of Cars Removed From Flooded UCLA Parking Garage

Some vehicles were removed Thursday, but others in heavily flooded lower levels remain stranded

Relieved owners picked up their vehicles Friday after tow trucks removed them from a UCLA parking structure where they had been stranded for more than two days because of a water main break that flooded the garages and other buildings on the Westwood campus.

The more than 200 vehicles towed to Parking Lot 36 Thursday and Friday were parked in a section of the structure that was not flooded, but others that remain in the garage were submerged in 4 to 5 feet of water.

"Some were completely submerged, others were in various states," said Tod Tamberg, UCLA spokesman. "We don't know what exactly the damage is to all the cars."

Maria Wilcox was among those who retrieved her car Friday. She moved the vehicle to an upper level of the parking garage during the flooding.

"I'm feeling better than the people who, unfortunately, may have gotten their cars ruined in the flood," said Wilcox. "It was just an amazing event to actually witness it."

About 900 vehicles were stranded in the parking structures after Tuesday's water main rupture sent about 20 million gallons of water onto the campus and surrounding area and punched a hole in Sunset Boulevard, forcing a closure that remains in effect during repairs.

Workers are still removing mud and other debris in the lower parking levels, where most of the water collected.

As for repairs on Sunset Boulevard, the street is expected to remain closed into the weekend. A sinkhole developed Tuesday after the high-velocity spray of water burst through the pavement. The break occurred at the meeting point under Sunset Boulevard of a 30-inch pipe installed in 1921 and a 36-inch pipe installed in 1956, part of Los Angeles' aging water supply system that is prone to ruptures.

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, officials said.

Water flowed into historic Pauley Pavilion, Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center, JD Morgan Center and John Wooden Center. UCLA athletic department officials said the Pauley Pavilion court -- at one point, under about eight inches of water -- will have to be replaced because of buckling and expansion two years after a $136 million renovation.

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