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Water main traffic better than expected

September 8, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Everyone expected big traffic jams, but Tuesday morning, it wasn't that bad. Cars have been moving through the Coldwater Canyon and Ventura intersection pretty smoothly. Coldwater Canyon remains closed from Halkirk to Moorpark. It appears that commuters heeded officials' advice to avoid Coldwater from Mulholland and took other routes to get to work or go back to school. Just a mile away, Laurel Canyon was also moving smoothly.

"I came from Riverside and came from the back roads, because I didn't want to get stuck in traffic," says Ben Rafeh, a motorist.

"It seems like there is no traffic, so it's surprising," he added.

Crews worked all day on Monday to fix the water main.

Crews are expected to test the repair with pressurized water and backfill the hole in the ground on Tuesday.

Department of Water and Power officials say they expect to complete their work sometime Tuesday. Then, they'll turn things over to the Bureau of Street Services, and they're the ones responsible with making sure the street is safe and cleaning it up so that cars can get through again, but that's not expected to happen until Friday.

Coldwater Canyon will likely not be reopened until later this week.

The problem began late Saturday night when the water main burst, flooding nearby homes and businesses with several feet of water.

"I think the problem is that most people, if they thought about it, they wouldn't try to come through here, but I think everybody basically figures that everyone else will avoid this, so I'll be able to sneak through," said Jeff Bird from Studio City.

It is still unknown how much it will cost the city to repair all the flooded homes and businesses.

Business owners on Ventura Boulevard said it could take anywhere from four to six weeks to reopen.

Residents who were evacuated from a nearby apartment building are now being housed at a local hotel.

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