Commuters were again forced to find alternate routes Friday, with a heavily traveled section of Laurel Canyon Boulevard through the Hollywood Hills expected to remain closed through at least late Monday after part of a home’s concrete foundation tumbled down a hillside following heavy rain.
The problem 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.
“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,” Ryu said.
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 Friday 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.
Ryu’s motion said engineers have not yet been able to make a full assessment of the slide or the damage incurred due to concerns about the stability of the hillside.
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.
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.
Ryu’s office said the LADBS has evaluated the property above the slide area and determined it is safe for city workers to begin the installation of protective barriers called K-rails along the center of Laurel Canyon Boulevard. The work is scheduled to begin on Saturday.