Navy’s China Lake Earthquake Damage Dramatically Climbs to Estimated $5 Billion

Navy’s China Lake Earthquake Damage Dramatically Climbs to Estimated $5 Billion

The repair costs for dual earthquake damage early last month to Naval Air Weapons Station, Calif., have risen to more than $5 billion, according to a new Navy estimate made public Wednesday.

The massive 1.1 million acre installation located on the western edge of the Mojave Desert near Ridgecrest, Calif., suffered damage so severe that Navy officials are recommending several buildings be demolished and completely replaced, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

The Navy’s remote installation where advanced weapons are developed and tested, NAWS China Lake will require total repair and replacement costs of up to $5.2 billion, according to the report. The new damage estimate includes buildings as well as furniture, tools, communications and other specialized equipment.

Officials surveyed nearly 3,600 buildings over 13 days and found that repair or replacement of damaged base buildings alone will cost about $2.2 billion, Military.com reported.

Major repairs will include hangars, repair facilities, offices, a laboratory, 22 ammunition magazines, an air traffic control tower and a gym and pool. The 6.4 and 7.1 quakes caused serious cracks in some buildings, sheared bolts from support beams and damaged water pipes and electrical equipment, according to the report.

A laboratory where advanced weapons technology is tested has been declared unsafe and other areas of the installation remain not “mission capable,” the Navy Times has reported.

The new estimate was posted Wednesday on the webpage of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest.

However, officials acknowledge the costs could change before a final estimate reaches Congress where any repair appropriations will require lawmaker and presidential approval.

“Until that process is completed, there are no official figures. It’s all speculative at this point,” said Lee Saunders, a Southwest Engineering Command spokesman.

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