METRO: Don't worry about stray current

Image credit: Pixabay

Local watchdog Tom Bazan has long been warning about the still-unresolved stray-current issues along METRO’s Main Street light-rail line.

On Friday, KHOU-11’s Jason Whiteley reported the latest on the problem:

Metro’s light rail line is leaking electricty into the ground and has been for 18 months.

The problem is stray current is corrosive. And Bazan fears it’s eating up the steel rods in the concrete foundation of the I-45 Pierce Elevated bridge.

Over time, Bazan believes the freeway could collapse.

“It’s inevitable. If they don’t cure the problem. It will collapse,” he said. “I don’t know when, but it will.”

TXDOT told 11 News it hasn’t checked the foundation of the Pierce Elevated. There’s no need to, it says, unless engineers find evidence there’s a problem. But Metro was concerned enough to ask if it could take a closer look itself.

Metro hasn’t done that yet, but a spokeswoman said the public shouldn’t worry about the leaking electricty. [sic]

METRO spokeswoman Raequel Roberts

Perhaps instead of telling the public what to worry about, the former Chronicle staffer and current METRO spokewoman could explain why the transit organization has been so slow to respond to Bazan’s public information requests on the stray-current issue, and why the organization hasn’t been more proactive in testing structures along the line.

If there’s nothing to worry about, then METRO ought to be happy to perform testing ASAP and reassure the public by sharing information promptly.

The video version of the story (but not the text posted online) mentions that Centerpoint Energy has been concerned enough about the problem to replace some metal gas pipes (which are susceptible to stray current) with plastic pipes near the rail line. Their engineers must not have consulted METRO spokeswoman Raequel Roberts on the matter, or they would have known not to worry.

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Kevin Whited
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