Traffic Snarled After Water Main Breaks on Sunset Boulevard

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is asking for patience as crews work the resolve water main breaks snarling traffic in West Hollywood and Holmby HIlls.

Streets in Holmby Hills reopeneded by rush hour Monday afternoon after a 12-inch cast iron pipe burst Sunday morning.

The 45-year-old pipe ruptured in the 10200 block of Sunset Boulevard, leaving 20 customers without water, according to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Water was restored just before 5 a.m. Monday, LADWP tweeted.

Sunset Boulevard was closed between Sharing Cross Road and Mapleton Drive as workers refilled the roadway.

The latest water main break comes on the heels of another pipe rupture that washed out streets in West Hollywood Friday. Both incidents happened on Sunset Boulevard about 3.5 miles apart.

"Same type of pipe, basically same type of failure on the riveted pipe," said Joe Castruita, LADWP director of water distribution. "Working with other larges cities like New York, Chicago, Dallas, Oakland, they all experience the same break rate."

All Sunset lanes in West Hollywood are expected to reopen by Wednesday. That rupture happened around 2:18 p.m. near Olive Drive when a 36-inch pipe broke and sent water rushing out at an estimated 9,600 gallons per minute.

LADWP said it's replacing 25 miles of aging pipes this year, and officials believe they'd need to double that rate to keep up with the failures.

But that means a nightmare of closures, traffic and expenses.

"We want to replace at least 3,000,000 feet a year to stay ahead of any kind of failure curve, but that's an awful lot of disruption in the street, there's a budget that has to back that up, and personnel to do the work," Castruita said.

The department is asking for the public to be patient as breaks will happen.

"Understand there's just going to be leaks in a city of this age," Castruita said. "We'll do our best out there to get those repairs done and get the street opened up."

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