The owners of some of the 900-or-so vehicles that became inaccessible when a water main break flooded Sunset Boulevard and parts of UCLA this week were invited to retrieve their rides today.
Department of Water and Power crews have made progress repairing the water main that ruptured north of UCLA, sending 20 million gallons of water cascading onto streets and the campus. They expect the repairs to be completed late tonight or early Saturday. But Sunset Boulevard, where a sinkhole 20 feet in diameter developed as a result of the pipe rupture, will remain closed into the weekend.
Workers last night began removing 267 vehicles from the non-flooded portion of UCLA’s Parking Structure Four, officials said. The vehicles were taken in flatbed tow trucks to parking lot 36, where owners were able to retrieve them starting at 10 this morning.
As many as 900 vehicles were stranded in two flooded parking structures — Four and Seven.
Keith Session, assistant director of the DWP’s water distribution division, said welders were working in various locations on fittings and pipes to be used to repair the ruptured main.
“It is in our schedule to have the repairs in the water main completed on late Friday evening or early Saturday morning and then we will start right at that time with the reconstruction of the street and the backfill of the trench,” Session said, adding that once the pipe repair is complete, it will take a “day or so” to fully fix the street.
While Sunset Boulevard remains blocked between roughly Veteran Avenue and Beverly Glenn Boulevard, authorities suggested using Wilshire, Santa Monica and Olympic boulevards as alternate routes, and encouraged motorists to carpool or telecommute.
The 93-year-old water main, which carries water to the area from the Upper Stone Canyon Reservoir, ruptured on Sunset near Marymount Place just north of the campus shortly before 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, flooding streets and portions of the UCLA campus.
The rupture occurred at a Y-shaped juncture of the 30-inch main with a 36-inch main. Leaking valves just east of the break caused further complications and extended the repair time since crews couldn’t begin work on the pipe until the flow of water was stopped.
The water flow was finally halted Wednesday night. DWP crews excavated a roughly 56-foot-by-41-foot hole around the pipes, then shored up trenches to ensure workers would be safe while carrying out the repair work.