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BEVERLY HILLS : Cost for Quake Repairs Could Hit $20 Million

January 27, 1994

Although the final tally won't be in for months, city officials have estimated that the Northridge earthquake caused close to $20 million in damage, principally to hundreds of brick chimneys and business facades.

Businesses and residences did not sustain major structural damage, but the cost of repairing and retrofitting 1,000 brick chimneys to meet city codes, fixing glass windows, tiles and facades in commercial buildings, and replacing damaged furniture and merchandise could reach $20 million, city spokesman Fred Cunningham said this week.

"It's a ballpark figure," he said.

None of the 600 single-family homes inspected so far sustained major structural damage, but there were fallen chimneys and cracks in many structures, building and safety director Ron Clark said. A city parking structure on South Beverly Drive will be closed for about three months for reinforcement work.

Officials this week began dealing with what they say could be a crippling aftershock of the Jan. 17 quake: the onslaught of traffic diverted from the damaged Santa Monica Freeway.

Since the quake, residents have noticed an increase in traffic on Olympic, Santa Monica, Wilshire and Sunset boulevards, said City Manager Mark Scott. Normally, as much as 70% of the traffic going through the city is non-residential, said Vice Mayor Vicki Reynolds.

The city may change the timing of traffic signals, particularly on Olympic Boulevard, but no decision will be made until the traffic pattern is further studied, Scott said. The city also will consider extending its morning and afternoon street parking restrictions on major streets.

The city plans to work closely with Los Angeles officials, who are weighing whether to open car-pool lanes on major streets that run through both cities.

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