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Coldwater Canyon Avenue closure sees first weekday commuters

March 25, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Drivers affected by the closure of Coldwater Canyon Avenue got their first look at how the five-week construction project will affect their weekday commute Monday.

Construction between Mulholland Drive and Ventura Boulevard started Saturday but Monday was the first weekday of the closure.

Crews put up the signs and blocked Coldwater Canyone Avenue around 8:30 a.m. and braced for the onslaught traffic on the first weekday of the major commuter route closure. The nightmare traffic jam, however, never surfaced.

Jeff Bray with the Department of Water and Power was hoping drivers would pay attention to the advanced warnings and stay away from Coldwater Canyon.

"At 8:30 a.m., we had one car waiting to get across," said Jeff Bray with the Department of Water and Power. "Second signal, we had eight cars trying to get across so I think that our message has really gotten out. People have listened and avoided the area."

The alternative routes including the Cahuenga Pass, Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Sepulveda Boulevard were also far from jammed.

Many residents in the area were very happy about the unlike L.A. traffic.

"My wife went to work this morning over Coldwater Canyon about 8:15 a.m.," said Johnny Schell of Studio City, and said there was virtually no traffic. She was thrilled she was able to go to Beverly Hills and get to work faster than she usually does."

The thoroughfare will remain shut for the next five weeks in order to replace a 100-year-old water main pipeline. The pipe ruptured in September 2009 and flooded the intersection of Coldwater Canyon Avenue and Ventura Boulevard, causing $8 million in damage.

"It is definitely a necessary evil, primarily because it broke and caused the repairs of Los Angeles millions, several millions of dollars in damage," Bray said.

Although many residents have remained understanding, some say they've had enough of closures and Carmageddons.

"I just hope it's the last time because this is at least the fourth time they've closed it since I can remember," said David Applebaum of Studio City.

The thoroughfare will be closed from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day until the Department of Water and Power project is finished. One lane in each direction will remain open after 7 p.m. on weekdays and after 6 p.m. on Saturdays.

The stretch of road is expected to reopen April 25, but crews are hoping they can finish the construction early.

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