Water main break floods streets in Westwood near UCLA

Amy Powell Image
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Water main break floods streets in Westwood near UCLA
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City Councilman Paul Koretz speaks about the water main break that flooded parts of Westwood and UCLA.

WESTWOOD, LOS ANGELES -- A water main pipe that burst and flooded streets in Westwood and parts of UCLA campus Tuesday afternoon is expected to shut down by 8 p.m., a spokeswoman from the Department of Water and Power said.

DWP crews were slowly turning off three large valves that feed into the water main to avoid damage to the system, said Michelle Vargas, a spokeswoman for DWP.

The water main burst was reported shortly before 3:30 p.m. at 10643 West Sunset Boulevard. The street was closed in both directions from Hilgard to Veteran avenues.

The 90-year-old ruptured pipe is about 30 inches in diameter and was pushing out about 75,000 gallons per minute, DWP officials said. The last major break was in Coldwater Canyon in Sept. 2009, which caused about $8 million in damage.

A swift water rescue team and three battalion chiefs responded to the incident. Department of Water and Power crews were also on the scene.

Several vehicles were stranded, with water flowing as high as the windows in some areas. At least three drivers were rescued, Los Angeles fire officials said.

Parts of the UCLA campus, including Drake Track and Field Stadium, Pauley Pavilion, J.D. Morgan Center, the George Kneller Student-Athlete Academic Center, Athletic Hall of Fame and John Wooden Center, were taking on water.

To minimize damage, workers were placing sand bags on the north side of Pauley Pavilion, which underwent a $133-million renovation in 2012.

Non-emergency personnel at the school were asked to move to the south of the campus. Parents with children attending a summer camp on campus can pick their children up at the flag pole near Royce Hall.

Parking structures four and seven were closed due to flooding. Those with cars parked at those structures may retrieve their car, but should obey emergency personnel, UCLA officials said.

UCLA Medical Center was not affected by the water main break, as multiple water sources feed the hospital.

No injuries have been reported and it is unknown if structures have been threatened.

Traffic was being detoured from the area. Those going westbound on Sunset Boulevard should go south on Beverly Glen Boulevard, turn west on Wilshire Boulevard and then turn back north on Veteran Avenue and Sepulveda Boulevard.

Those going eastbound on Sunset Boulevard should head south on Veteran Avenue and Sepulveda Boulevard, turn east on Wilshire Boulevard and then head north on Beverly Glen Boulevard.

For those needing to get onto campus, take Westwood Boulevard.

DEVELOPING: We will add more details to this report as they become available.