STUDIO CITY (CBSLA.com) — Cleanup efforts continued in and around Southern California following a huge Pacific storm that pummeled the area, causing a large sinkhole in Studio City.
Engineers on Sunday said they believe an erosion on a sewage pipe caused that sinkhole, which swallowed two cars around 8 p.m. Friday.
The sinkhole developed on the corner of Woodbridge Avenue and Laurel Canyon Boulevard, causing two vehicles to fall in.
The first driver that fell in had the raw sewage flood into her vehicle. She managed to get out of her vehicle, climb atop, and was rescued by firefighters. The second driver was able to exit their vehicle before it teetered over into the sinkhole, images that were caught on live TV by Sky2.
Both drivers are okay.
“A hole developed down there over the months, weeks, maybe years and the soil kept eroding into this hole and then it got bigger and bigger and then on Friday night, we had a very large storm and the pressurized the sewer kind of developed a large hole, and then all the soil fell into the sewer,” Gary Moore, a Los Angeles City engineer.
On Sunday, the Department of Public Works said “While shoring has been completed and upstream diversion was done, it was determined that the sewer flow needs to be reduced to allow for the repair. A bypass line will be installed to divert the flow away from the sinkhole. Once the bypass is installed, crews will start removing debris and repair damage to the sewer line.”
CBS2’s Tina Patel says it might be several more days before the hole is completely filled.
Crews are hoping to have the ground around the hole stable enough to be able to open up at least one lane of Laurel Canyon in both directors by the morning commute.
Patel also spoke to Joe Guidi, a neighbor who was able to take cellphone video of the cars falling into the sinkhole moments after it happened.
“I actually walked up as they were rescuing the girl,” Guidi said. “The first car.”
Once he realized the driver was going to be okay, he started worrying about the stability of the ground he was standing on.
Adel Hagekhalil with the LA Sanitation Department said repairs are moving along smoothly.
“No one is being impacted,” he said, “the sewage is contained.”