Ventura Boulevard reopened after water main break; Coldwater Canyon still closed

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AP Photo/Gus Ruelas

Residents cross what would normally be a busy Coldwater Canyon Avenue to inspect the damage after a 64-inch main broke Sept. 5, 2009, sending a deluge of water down Coldwater Canyon Avenue to Ventura Boulevard in the Studio City section of Los Angeles, flooding streets and businesses, Sunday, Sept. 6.

The water main break on Ventura Boulevard Saturday night forced people out of their homes.

(Updated 11:20 a.m. Monday, Sept. 7)

Ventura Boulevard has opened after being shut down after flooding from a water main break Saturday night in Studio City. But Coldwater Canyon Avenue remains closed about two blocks north and south of Ventura. The water main break is about 50 yards south of Ventura.

Officials with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said it could be Friday before this section is open.

Coldwater Canyon Avenue remains closed to both northbound and southbound traffic between Halkirk Street and Ventura Blvd., as well as closed to southbound traffic only between Moorpark St. and Ventura Blvd. Detour signs are posted, and traffic officers will be posted at major intersections between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

One part of the pipe just peeled away like the lid of a sardine can, said Kim Hughes, a spokeswoman for the DWP. The pipe was built in 1914.

The trench is about 25 feet by about 25 feet, and about 25 feet deep. Two telephone line support poles are draped across the opening of the trench – heavy chains are wrapped around the poles and around a horizontal pillar of concrete inside the trench. A major electrical distribution conduit is in that concrete pillar, and that is holding it in place so that it won't fall and cut the conduit.

An apartment building on Valleyheart had water damage. Six apartments were damaged as was their parking structure. Residents evacuated from those apartments found rooms at the Sportsmen's Lodge. Insurance claims agents are doing damage assessments at the apartment building and everywhere else that was damaged.

Most water went into the storm drains and into the L.A. River. There was no impact on water quality for anyone.

The pipe that broke is a conduit taking water from L.A. reservoir to the Franklin Reservoir. It doesn't take water directly to homes and businesses.

They are now using a bulldozer to shovel gravel into the trench to raise the water so they can pump the rest of it out. They will work around the clock on the repairs.

The goal is to get the pipe repaired by Tuesday night. Then the street repairs can start Wednesday morning.

It could take one to two days to complete the street repairs.

Earlier, officials said that the water flow from the broken pipe was stopped after about four hours, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power spokeswoman Jane Galbraith said.

No injuries have been reported since the 64-inch main broke late Saturday night, but firefighters rescued a person who was in a car that had been swept away in the flooding, Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott said.

More than 125 firefighters have responded and were trying to redirect water toward a Los Angeles storm drain, Scott said.

Water was several feet deep in some places and had damaged homes and businesses, Scott said. A shelter had been set up at an elementary school for displaced residents.

Ventura Boulevard, one of the city's main thoroughfares, runs the length of the San Fernando Valley from east to west.

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