Following hillside collapse, Laurel Canyon Blvd. reopens with limited access

Detours have been set up on busy Laurel Canyon Boulevard, to allow traffic to cross the Hollywood Hills Sunday on an artery that had been closed by a collapsing hillside since last Wednesday.

The damage occurred when part of a home's concrete foundation tumbled down a hillside following a round of heavy rainfall.

But on Saturday, the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, in coordination with contractors and geologists, evaluated the property and hillside and determined it is safe to allow limited traffic through Laurel Canyon, department officials said.

Concrete K-rails have been installed in the mudslide area and the property owner's contractor removed what was left of the deck that was undermined by the slide, the city said.

Northbound traffic is detoured to a frontage road known as "Little Laurel Canyon'' between Kirkwood and Mount Olympus drives. Parking will be restricted.

Southbound traffic has been shifted over to the northbound lane, and the southbound lane has been barricaded off by heavy K-rail to prevent rocks or dirt from hitting vehicles.

Trucks are prohibited, and parking on the frontage road -- formally called Laurel Canyon Road -- has been restricted.

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

Los Angeles City Councilman David Ryu introduced an emergency motion at Friday's council meeting that authorizes funding for city staff to commence work as needed over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend on Laurel Canyon Boulevard.

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.

Local traffic only was being permitted on Laurel Canyon between Hollywood Boulevard and Mulholland Drive.

The couple who rent the endangered 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 won't reopen until late Monday or early Tuesday "at the absolute earliest,'' said Kate Hutton of the Los Angeles Emergency Management Department.

Residents were allowed to access their homes, but commuters must use detours, according to the Emergency Management Department.

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