Subway Plans Approved for Underneath Los Angeles High School

By Maria Nikias

May 25, 2012 3:53pm

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has approved plans for an underground subway that will run underneath The Beverly Hills High School, a move that has generated uproar from parents and school officials.

“All actions today will be shipped over to the federal government,” Marc Littman, an MTA spokesman, told ABC News on Thursday. “If all goes well, we can start a year from now.”

The second leg of the plan was approved after experts testified in a meeting today that it’s safe to build the tunnel despite pockets of methane gas underneath the school.

“We have some of the world’s tunneling experts who all rejected that,” Littman said.

However, parents argue the gas could cause explosions, and potentially lead to disaster.

The fight that has become heated over the past several months, generating two opposing videos on the Internet – one with an “Armageddon” feel vs. another invoking ”The Beverly Hillbillies”: a dramatic duel reminiscent of Hollywood movies.

“Methane gas, toxic chemicals and teenagers don’t mix,” says the narration of a video generated by Beverly Hills High School parents. “But this dangerous combination is on the verge of exploding at Beverly High.”

The video, titled “No Subway Under BHHS,” is equipped with images of students walking to class alongside dramatic images of flames and explosions, including video from a huge methane explosion in 1985.

Adding fuel to the fire, a satirical video called “The Hillfolks’ Lament” was uploaded to on the Internet in response, and mocks the residents of Beverly Hills for fear of progress. While MTA officials aren’t sure who produced the satire video, Littman said the accusations by Beverly Hills High School parents are untrue.

“We tunnel under schools elsewhere in Los Angeles, San Francisco, all around the world,” Littman told ABC News.  ”We have had nearly 20 years experience running the subway underground in Los Angles without incident. It is safe.”

Littman said the MTA expects to receive a lawsuit. Littman added officials had considered other routes, but said because of earthquake faults and too-sharp turning radii in other areas, the line must run under Beverly Hills High School. The project is expected to cost around $5.66 billion.

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