The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power announced to the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council on Monday that Coldwater Canyon Avenue from Ventura Boulevard to Mulholland Drive will soon be closed for 28 working days from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday while the department installs a new trunk line in the area.
The full closure will begin on March 23 and had many councilmembers concerned about the traffic jams it may cause, as Coldwater is heavily utilized by commuters travelling back and forth from the Valley and the Westside.
The closure area is in Studio City but is just a few blocks east of Sherman Oaks. The Studio City Neighborhood Council was informed of the closure by Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian's office at its January meeting.
“It sounds like 'Canyon-geddon.' It won’t affect as many people but it sure is going to affect our neighborhoods,” said Ron Taylor of the Studio City Neighborhood Counci, referring to the closures of the 405 Freeway that were dubbed "Carmageddon."
Greg Bartz of the LADWP spoke in front of the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council on Monday and gave the details of the closure. Councilmember Jay Beeber grilled Bartz about why the council wasn't informed of the closure sooner or involved in the discussions.
"We did coordinate with Councilmember Krekorian’s office. They were taking the lead on working with neighborhood groups like yours, working with individuals, etc., so we are following CD2’s lead," Bartz said. "As far as much more advanced notice on the closure, part of it is that it is not an easy decision to make and there are many factors that go into it… Sometimes something like this it’s not easy to see that it’s going to happen that far in advance."
Krekorian spoke at the Studio City Neighborhood Council's meeting in January and discussed multiple topics, including the Coldwater closure. (See the attached video of some of his remarks.)
"There is no way to complete this project without the closure of Coldwater Canyon... I don't want to candy-coat it, it will be a real inconvenience," Krekorian said.
Bartz told the Sherman Oaks council that other options were considered, but that keeping Coldwater open to public traffic during construction would extend the project by about another month and would create potential safety hazards for the construction crew.
Among the details Bartz provided about closure were:
- The trunk line being replaced is 98 years old and 60 inches in diameter
- One lane would remain open at all times for emergency access
- Roughly 270 local residents will be directly impacted by the closure but will be given special coded access passes
- The closure area will be staffed by Dept. of Transportation traffic officers and DWP security officers to deal with traffic and local access
- Coldwater will have one lane northbound and one lane southbound open outside of working hours
Harvard-Westlake School is located on Coldwater in the closure area, but parents and students can get close to the entrance on Coldwater by using side streets.
“We are making arrangements so that the school is impacted as little as possible,” Geoffrey Yazzetta, a field deputy for Krekorian's office, told the Studio City Neighborhood Council.
-- Studio City Patch Editor Mike Szymanski contributed to this story