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Repair of burst pipe close to completion near UCLA

The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Crews on Saturday finished major repairs on a nearly century-old water main that burst and poured 20 million gallons of water onto the UCLA campus, ruining the new court at famed Pauley Pavilion.

Workers completed replacing the ruptured pipe junction on Sunset Boulevard, welded it and installed a pair of 36-inch butterfly valves that weigh two tons each, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said in an update.

The new section will be reinforced with concrete blocks and extra steel plating to protect the joint, the agency said. The section will now need to be tested and slowly brought back up to its regular water pressure.

''Crews will carefully adjust valves in the area to return flow to the pipeline. This puts stress on pipes in the local water distribution system, which could potentially lead to leaks or pipe breaks,'' the department warned in its statement.

Crews also began pouring gravel into the hole and tamping it down as a start to repaving the huge gap caused when the pipe erupted in a geyser on Tuesday.

The flood swamped or stranded hundreds of cars in parking garages. The university retrieved many of them, and students were allowed to reclaim some of them through the weekend. City staffers offered reimbursement forms for those whose possessions had flood damage.

UCLA also has begun a crowdfunding effort to raise $1 million to help students, faculty and employees affected by the flooding. The relief fund had raised nearly $39,000 by Saturday afternoon.

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