Venice water main breaks block roads

VENICE, Calif. It the latest of nearly three dozen pipe blowouts in Los Angeles this month.

Bubbling up from under the pavement, water from a broken eight-inch pipe buckled Lincoln Boulevard Sunday Morning, creating a sink hole the width of one lane.

Crews shut off the water, impacting only 15 to 20 customers, but this water main break is the 35th one this month, which is 14 more than last September.

"I've directed the Department of Water and Power to look into it and to check it out," says L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

The mayor added that every major city has problems with its plumbing, but 35 in one month is cause for concern.

Earlier this month, a 64-inch trunk line burst in Studio City flooding businesses and homes and forced the closure of Coldwater Canyon. That pipe was 95 years old.

The L.A. DWP says that aging pipes, the soil and traffic volume could be the blame for some of the breaks, but there is some speculation among experts that the cause could be the city's watering restrictions, putting pressure on the pipes when L.A. residents are allowed to water.

"You see, what we're not going to do is to respond to every speculative idea about what the reason for this is," the mayor says.

"We're going to investigate it, we're putting the experts on it, and we're going to make a determination about just what's wrong, and we're going to fix it," he added.

The mayor says DWP crews repair about 200 major water main breaks every year and that the Venice break will be relatively quick fix.

Instead of a full closure at Lincoln Boulevard and Palms Boulevard, cars are being routed southbound through the center turn lane in order to keep traffic moving.

The sinkhole will be patched up before the morning commute. The age of the pipe and the cause of the break are unknown at this time.

Crews have restored water service to those who lost it at around 1 p.m. Sunday. DWP expects to reopen the effected lanes later Sunday evening.

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