Baldwin Hills Water Main Break Might Have “Pushed Soil That Holds the Street Up”

A temporary fix to a problem that might have been months in the making was finished in time for the morning drive on La Cienega Boulevard in Baldwin Hills

A major thoroughfare in Baldwin Hills that was closed Tuesday night after more than half of the street buckled horizontally across multiple lanes reopened in time for the morning drive after a temporary fix.

La Cienega Boulevard between Stocker Street and Rodeo Road was closed Tuesday night as crews tried to fix the collapse in the road. By 10:30 p.m., the damage stretched across at least three lanes (pictured below).

One southbound lane reopened early Wednesday. Crews worked overnight and reopened all lanes at about 7 a.m.

A Los Angeles Police Department felt ripples on the road and reported the problem. Crews from LA Public Works and LA Department of Transportation responded to the location -- the site of a water main rupture about one month ago, crew members said.

It was not immediately clear whether the break was related to the buckled pavement.

"Anytime we have a break that causes more than 100-square feet of damage to the street we call it a blowout," said Mike Miller, of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. "It looks like a month later -- La Cienega Boulevard, heavy traffic -- this street finally buckled."

The break involved an eight-inch cast-iron pipe that was installed in 1936.

"My guess is the pipe, when it broke, it pushed soil that holds the street up," said Miller. "But there's no way to see through the street to understand how much undermining might have happened."

The overnight work is considered a temporary fix for the street.

DWP officials plan to meet with the subcontractor about permanent repairs. A timeline for repairs was not immediately available, but Miller said it's possible crews might begin work Wednesday.

"This needs to be permanently repaired," said Miller.

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