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Officials can't say when Coldwater Canyon Avenue will reopen after water main break

September 8, 2009 |  2:49 pm

Officials said today that they have made significant progress in fixing a water line that burst over the weekend but said "it is not possible to estimate" when Coldwater Canyon Avenue will reopen.

The water main burst Saturday night, flooding homes and businesses, and left a large sinkhole in Coldwater Canyon, a major route between the Westside and the San Fernando Valley. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said this afternoon that it had completed repairs to the pipe itself.

"After the line has been restored to service, crews will begin backfilling the street blowout with compacted sand and crushed rock," the DWP said in a statement. "The backfill material will fill in spaces in the dry fill that is currently present, creating the ideal compaction necessary for street repairs to begin. The backfill process will require up to two days for placement and proper compaction and testing. Thereafter, when LADWP's portion of the fill work and stabilization is complete, the Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services will begin repaving work."

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today promised a thorough investigation into the two recent sinkhole incidents in the San Fernando Valley.

The DWP is in the midst of repairing aging pipelines, Villaraigosa said, adding that the 95-year-old trunk line that burst on Coldwater Canyon Avenue was scheduled for upgrades within five years as part of the agency's broader plans to improve the city's water quality and upgrade the infrastructure.

"We are going to have to look for the funds — I know there are some funds to do this, but it is a very expensive proposition,” Villaraigosa said.

The mayor said there are roughly 200 incidents of this magnitude within the city each year and underscored that city officials do not believe the Valley Village sinkhole that submerged the front end of a firetruck this morning is related to Saturday’s water main break in Studio City.

“We compare very well with big cities across the country in terms of number of incidents per mile of pipe, and also water loss,” the mayor said during an unrelated news conference at City Hall today. “But, clearly, whenever you have incidents of this magnitude and seriousness, we’re going to conduct a thorough investigation.”

Villaraigosa, who visited the Valley Village incident site this morning, said he was relieved that the firefighters were able to extricate themselves from the fire truck safely.

“Anybody who has gone to visit the site can tell you that could have been an absolutely horrific disaster, but thanks to God and their good work they were able to get out without any injury.”

-- Maeve Reston at City Hall and Raja Abdulrahim in Studio City

Click on image to go to interactive map Use the Times' interactive Google map to see the location of the water main breaks and street closures in the area.