Laguna residents upset over sewage spill

LAGUNA BEACH It was an absolute traffic mess Friday on the section of the Coast Highway affected by the spill. Cars had to go up and around onto a side street to avoid the area of the sewage spill.

The city manager said he had hoped to have the repairs finished by Friday afternoon. That has not happened. He said crews will continue working well into the night, which means the road will stay closed until at least early Saturday morning.

Click in the Eyewitness News story window above to watch Eileen Frere's report from the scene of the spill.

Frustration grows as drivers sit in traffic. Hundreds of cars were forced to take a painfully slow detour through narrow side streets.

"I tried to take the back route because I thought I knew where I was going, and it was fine until I hit the people who thought they knew the back way," said day spa owner Nancy Sherer.

A mile of Coast Highway in Laguna Beach has been closed since Thursday as crews make repairs after raw sewage spilled onto the street. Officials say it was flowing at 50 gallons a minute for about an hour and a half.

"The sewage was running from there out to here, down the drain," said hairdresser Rick Clemons. "It was raw sewage."

Authorities say more than 4,000 gallons flowed through storm drains and into the ocean.

Signs warn people to stay out of the water. Officials say about a mile of beach is now closed from Cress Street to Rockledge Road.

"They have determined that the leak is caused by a rusted clamp that goes around the sewer pipe and services an air vent," said Laguna Beach City Manager Ken Frank.

Officials say crews worked throughout the night hoping to finish repairs as quickly as possible. It can't come soon enough for some businesses.

"It's been rather slow. A lot of people walking by, a lot of lookie-loos, but no one really coming in to get a massage today," said Nancy Sherer.

Some residents have also had to find other ways to get around, their vehicles were trapped within the blocked-off area.

"I had to run to the bank and I took my bicycle out of the garage. I haven't used it for years. It was kind of scary but I made it there and back," said nearby resident Mark Rodrigues.

Officials say avoid this section of Pacific Coast Highway, as it will remain closed until well into Saturday morning.


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