WEST HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA.com) — A water main break sent thousands of gallons of water gushing onto Hollywood’s Sunset Strip, in addition to snarling traffic in the area and local business.
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power crews spent roughly six hours patching up the pipe, which burst around 2:40 p.m. at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Olive Drive near La Cienega Boulevard.
Water was seen gushing down Sunset west of Kings Road, flooding the street and sending a river of water cascading south toward Santa Monica Boulevard.
Sunset was closed in a mile-long area roughly between Crescent Heights and La Cienega Boulevard. It was reopened shortly before 10 p.m.
During the Friday rush-hour commute, drivers navigating around the area were caught in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
And tourists struggled to walk to their hotels on the popular Sunset Strip.
Crews gradually shut down the water so as to prevent water-hammers from forming, which can go on and sever other pipes. The ruptured pipe is a 36-inch line installed in 1916. It was lined with cement in 1957 to protect against corrosion.
“They’ve got to do it very slowly, very methodically, very similar to what we saw in Westwood about a month ago,” L.A. Fire Department Captain Jamie Moore said.
Buses on Metro’s Line 2 were rerouted from Sunset to Santa Monica Boulevard, between San Vicente Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, officials announced around 4 p.m.
The House of Blues on Sunset Boulevard was caught in the middle of the flooding so it was no surprise that the venue announced it was canceling its Friday night concert. They said ticket holders will receive refunds.
The Comedy Store said they were still planning to have shows Friday, but were monitoring the situation.
“I would anticipate Sunset Boulevard being closed for this evening. We’re trying to do everything we can to get walking traffic through; the reason why is we’ve got a lot of major tourist sites here, we’ve got the House of Blues and a lot of hotels here,” Moore said.
The flooding caused chaos for pedestrians, nearby residents and businesses.
“The minute that it broke, we keep sandbags on our properties, our team immediately started to bring them out so we could mitigate any of the water that would go into the building,” said Bert Seneca, general manager of the the Grafton Hotel.
The owner of Pink Dot Delivery said business came to a stop when the water started to flow.
“A lot of my drivers can’t get back to the store, and it’s just been a huge mess,” owner Sol Yamini said. “It’s affected our business because this is prime-time rush-hour traffic and we get a lot of orders around this time. We can’t maneuver in and out of the building anymore.”
Aging infrastructure has resulted in a series of water main breaks in and around Los Angeles in recent years.
A nearly century-old water main ruptured near the UCLA campus last month, flooding the area with 20 million gallons of water.
Hundreds of cars and part of the campus were damaged by that break.