Topanga Canyon Boulevard reopens months ahead of schedule

A critical stretch of Topanga Canyon Boulevard that has been closed since early March due to storm-triggered mud and debris flows reopened Sunday, about 90 days ahead of schedule.

"Crews reopened the roadway this weekend after Topanga Canyon Blvd had been closed due to a major slide btwn Grand View Dr and PCH," Caltrans posted Sunday morning on X. "Expect one-way traffic control during non-peak hours as crews will continue with some items of work. Drive safely!"

Approximately 15,000 cubic yards of material were removed and repurposed for Ventura County farmers, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works and an art installation in downtown Los Angeles near the State Historic Park, officials said.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Topanga Canyon Boulevard to reopen this weekend

Caltrans revised its original estimate of 50,000 to 90,000 cubic yards of material needing to be removed once a geotechnical report determined that the slide was shallower than first thought. Crews did not encounter any anomalies in the soil during removal, which benefited the expedited opening.

"The incredible work of Caltrans geotechnical and construction engineers and geologists and the contractor has returned a vital connection for this community," Caltrans Director Tony Tavares said.

To remove materials, crews built an access road adjacent to the slide to push down materials from the top using a Spider Excavator and loading the materials into Super-10 trucks with a long-reach excavator. From there, the trucks hauled the dirt and rocks to the farms, county storage locations and the art installation, according to a statement Friday from Gov. Gavin Newsom's office.

"I thank Governor Newsom, Senator Ben Allen, Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin, Los Angeles County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath and our local partners for their unwavering support, the residents and businesses for their patience and the crews for reopening the roadway as quickly and as safely as possible," Tavares said.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Topanga Canyon still closed due to landslides

The closure, which Caltrans originally estimated to last until September, has disrupted the lives of individuals living in the canyon, visitors to Topanga and beachgoers.

The boulevard -- a critical link between the western San Fernando Valley and the coast -- has been closed between Pacific Coast Highway and Grand View Drive since early March. The dramatic storms that hit the area led to rock and debris slides in many mountain areas, with the Topanga slide particularly damaging.

In late April, a group of local and state officials toured the area, vowing to do what they can to expedite the reopening of the roadway. Early predictions, however, were that the road might remain blocked until late summer.

Now that Caltrans has stabilized the slope and removed material, geotechnical engineers and geologists will monitor the site for any movement. Officials recommended a cable-mesh drapery system to prevent any sloughing of remaining loose materials and planting native seeds to further stabilize the slope.