Portion of Laurel Canyon remains closed after hillside foundation collapse

- Commuters again will have to find alternate routes Friday and through the weekend as a heavily traveled section of Laurel Canyon Boulevard through the Hollywood Hills will remain closed through at least late Monday after part of a home's concrete foundation tumbled down a hillside following a round of rain.

UPDATE:

Councilmember Ryu released the following updates regarding the Laurel Canyon Closure:

 
Councilmember Ryu (CD-4) has submitted an emergency motion to authorize funding for the work described above. Click here to view a copy of the motion.
 

“Today, I introduced an emergency motion that authorizes funding for city staff to commence work as needed over the holiday weekend on Laurel Canyon Blvd. This is an utmost priority for the City and we will move with speed and caution to ensure that we can safely reopen Laurel Canyon to both commuters and residents,” said Councilmember David Ryu.

The Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety has evaluated the property above the slide area and determined it is safe for Street Services workers to begin the installation of protective barriers (K-Rails) along the center of Laurel Canyon Boulevard. This work will begin Saturday (January 14) morning. A Building and Safety Grading Inspector will be on-site to monitor the condition of the slope during the installation process.

Until the further notice, Laurel Canyon Boulevard remains closed to through traffic. Local residents will be allowed in with proof of residence. All others are encouraged to use local freeways (405, 101) as detours. No trucks over 6,000 lbs are allowed on local hillside roads. All trucks must use freeways as an alternate route.

Trash collection service will continue in the area for all streets other than Gould until further notice.

An update on a traffic mitigation plan will be available later this afternoon.

 Visit http://emergency.lacity.org/ for up-to-date information.

 

EARLIER:

The problem was reported early Wednesday afternoon at a residence perched above Laurel Canyon Boulevard in the 8100 block of West Gould Avenue.

Firefighters and an Urban Search and Rescue team with specialized equipment were sent to the property, and Laurel Canyon Boulevard was closed from Gould Avenue to Kirkwood Drive as a precaution. A hard closure remained in place today along that stretch of the boulevard, a heavily used artery for motorists traveling between the San Fernando Valley and the Westside.

The couple who rent the home, which was built in 1925, was safely evacuated after the ground on which the house stands was seen to have weakened.

Then, around 2:40 p.m. Wednesday, a 9,000-pound slab of concrete from the foundation and retaining wall, which was attached to a patio, slid down the hillside and landed near the road below, which became blocked by debris.

No one was hurt, but the home was red-tagged, meaning it is unsafe to enter. Neighboring homes, one to the south and another to the north, were yellow-tagged, meaning access is allowed with caution advised, and those
residents were told to stay out of their backyards.

Dave Lara of the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety said the collapse took out part of a fence and some ground. Firefighters placed sand bags to divert rain. Another mud slide was reported in the neighborhood
Thursday morning amid steady rainfall.

The road will remain closed to through traffic between Sunset Boulevard and Mulholland Drive and won't reopen until late Monday or early Tuesday "at the absolute earliest," said Kate Hutton of the Los Angeles Emergency
Management Department.

In addition to the hard closure between Gould and Kirkwood, street closures are also in effect along Laurel Canyon Boulevard at the intersections of Mulholland Drive, Lookout Mountain Avenue, Kirkwood Drive, Gould Avenue, Mount Olympus Drive, Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard, she said.

Residents are allowed to access their homes, but commuters must use alternative routes, according to the Emergency Management Department.

An information website has been established at www.emergency.lacity.org/laurelcanyonclosure.

A huge chunk of concrete that was part of this home’s foundation, retaining wall and patio landed right on Laurel Canyon Boulevard around 2:30 p.m. 

“We got a crazy text from our neighbor saying are you guys ok, your balcony is falling off of the mountain,” Brett Copeland, who is renting the home, said.

 

Luckily, Copeland and his wife had already evacuated after they noticed some cracking in their bathroom.

With the advice of a contractor friend, the couple left Tuesday night before more rain hit.

“We noticed a difference because there’s a crack, but its gotten larger with the rain that we’ve had,” Copeland said.

The fire department said the ground beneath the home on West Gould Avenue, above Lauren Canyon, couldn’t absorb any more water and that’s what caused it to crumble.

“As we were standing down here we heard the cracking of the earth, the rocks sliding off, then the breakage of that piece of patio and retaining,” David Ortiz with the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

The fire department had already closed Laurel Canyon in anticipation of the slide, which sent 9,000 pound of concrete down the hill.

Laurel Canyon is closed in both directions from Mulholland to Hollywood Boulevard, but residents and people who need to access businesses can pass.

Officials have red-tagged the Copeland’s home and yellow-tagged two neighboring homes. 

Geologist plan to wait for the next rain storm to pass Wednesday night before making a determination to open the road.

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