Studio City water main breaks, forces detours
Officials are working today to fix a large broken water main in Studio City and preparing to manage a possible rush-hour traffic snarl Tuesday near Coldwater Canyon Avenue, a heavily used mountain route connecting the San Fernando Valley to the Westside.
This afternoon, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power crews were welding the 62-inch water main -- one of the largest in the city -- that burst late Saturday, flooding residences and washing away cars in a powerful torrent that lasted hours. Water was as much as 3 feet deep in some places and ripped a huge gash in the roadway.
Portions of Coldwater Canyon remained closed south of the Ventura Freeway.
Inspectors were trying to determine if a bridge near Coldwater Canyon Avenue and Valleyheart Drive, which spans a wash, had been damaged. The examination was not expected to be completed until at least Tuesday, said Capt. Richard Rea of the city Department of Transportation.
Local detours have been established to route northbound and southbound traffic around a completely closed section of Coldwater Canyon Avenue south of Ventura Boulevard. In some areas, only residents and people who worked in the area were allowed access.
He urged commuters to use Beverly Glen Boulevard to the west and Laurel Canyon Boulevard to the east as alternatives for traversing the mountains. A number of motorists will undoubtedly try to snake through hillside neighborhoods to get around the closures, Rea said.
“Some people are going to end up lost,” he said. “I would just say they should remain with the major [alternative] corridors.”
No injuries were reported in the flood, and officials were still adding up losses, said Kim Hughes, a DWP spokeswoman. Preliminary estimates indicated six apartments in a complex on Valleyheart Drive were flooded, and three or four cars were damaged, she said. Those affected can obtain claim forms from the DWP’s website, she said.
The 100-year-old water main is used to move water between reservoirs, and service to only a few homes was interrupted.
-- Rich Connell
Photo: Department of Water and Power workers check out the water-filled sinkhole. Crews had stopped most of the major water flow by 3 a.m. Sunday, the DWP said. Credit: Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times