Update: Some Sunset Boulevard Traffic Lanes Now Open

Water gushes from the street on Sunset Boulevard at La Cienega.
Water gushes from the street on Sunset Boulevard at La Cienega.

UPDATE: Limited traffic lanes have been reopened on Sunset Boulevard just east of La Cienega Boulevard following the street closure there due to a water main rupture. Two eastbound lanes and one westbound lane on Sunset Boulevard were reopened at a 10:30 p.m. Saturday night. No left turns will be permitted from westbound Sunset Boulevard onto southbound La Cienega Boulevard. To allow for full roadway repairs and paving on Sunset Boulevard, the one westbound lane will remain closed for at least two or three days.

Welding repairs were completed at mid-afternoon today on a 100-year-old water main under the Sunset Strip that blew apart under heavy pressure Friday.

Sunset Boulevard remained closed today at the break and washed-out crater, in the 8400 block of the boulevard near Olive Drive. The pipe first erupted at about 2:20 p.m. Friday, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Crews from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which supplies water to customers in that area of West Hollywood, were dispatched to the scene and shut down the flow.

The DWP announced that it had finished welding the old cast-iron pipe at about 3 p.m. and was refilling it with treated water.

The pipe under the Sunset Strip was believed to have been installed in 1916 and was lined with concrete in 1957 “to protect (it) from corrosion and extend its life,” according to the DWP. There is also a 32-inch pipe, operated by the Metropolitan Water District, in the area. At the height of the water flow, the ruptured pipe spewed about 9,600 gallons of water per minute, DWP spokeswoman Kim Hughes said.

At one point, Sunset Boulevard was closed in both directions between Holloway Drive and Crescent Heights Boulevard, snarling traffic into the Friday evening rush. Some surrounding streets were also closed, and buses on Metro’s Line 2 were rerouted from Sunset Boulevard to Santa Monica Boulevard between San Vicente Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, according to Metro.

The Sunset Strip remained closed today between La Cienega Boulevard and Sweetzer Avenue, and there was no immediate estimate available on when the busy thoroughfare would be reopened, said Lt. William Nash of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s West Hollywood Station. One eastbound lane was reopened about noon today, but it was closed again after less than an hour because curious motorists slowing to ogle the repair work were causing traffic to back up, Nash said.

While the water was flowing, county and city fire crews used sandbags to divert it from buildings, and employees of the Mondrian and Grafton hotels scrambled to keep water from flowing into their buildings. The House of Blues on Sunset Boulevard canceled Friday night’s concert

because it was impossible to unload band equipment into the nightclub.

Water from Sunset Boulevard flowed downhill along neighborhood streets toward Santa Monica Boulevard, but there were no reports of residential flooding.

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Elyse Eisenberg
Elyse Eisenberg
5 years ago

Jonathan, your comments are excellent!!!

WeHoVaudivillian
WeHoVaudivillian
5 years ago

Yes, mike. The DWP have no intention on budgeting for pipe replacements. Because your hypothesis is plausible and credible. Good work on figuring it all out. Jonathan, that’s a superb and insightful comment you posted. And I agree that the DWP did a fantastic job in getting things patched up so quickly. They deserve a lot of credit in managing an enormous and aging system, all the while adding new service connections. And it is a big concern – these new developments across WeHo will all want their piece of the shrinking pie. Get ready for more leaks as more… Read more »

mike dunn
mike dunn
5 years ago

Since the DWP is a City of los Angeles agency we have little say as to how they operate or set their priorities. They just finished dealing with that huge flood in Westwood. It seems with all the money they generate upgrades should be part of their agenda but apparently it is not. I don’t believe during with the Santa Monica Bl. rebuilding project the storm drain issue was addressed. Many years ago I witnessed a storm drain man hole cover actually raised up from the street approx. two to three feet due to a heavy ran and a apparent… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
5 years ago

What an amazing quick job DWP did to get this fixed. Thank you What this experience did raise was some very important questions about our own city public works systems How did water make it all the way to Melrose before entering some underground storm drain system ? Is the system we have enough for a major flood ? Do we even have a system ? What will be the effects of a major storm dumping 1/2″ or 1″ an hour be ? Does the city have low lying area flood maps so owners in those areas can be prepared… Read more »

Jerome Cleary
Jerome Cleary
5 years ago

An ancient pipe finally busts during a major construction development across the street? It held in place for the past 57 years but there was no plan to upgrade any of this while major developments are approved on our Sunset Strip?