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L.A.'s Sunset Boulevard reopens week after huge water main break

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sunset Boulevard reopened in Los Angeles on Monday, a week after part of the famed thoroughfare across America's second-largest city was shut down when a water main ruptured underneath it, spouting a 40-foot geyser and flooding part of the UCLA campus.

Crews worked around the clock to fix the broken pipe, fill in the gaping hole left behind when it burst and re-pave the thoroughfare before the Monday morning commute, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

"Fixing this major artery in our water supply and opening one of our busiest streets was an immensely complicated job and I'm proud that it was done with the highest standards of professionalism by our city workforce," Garcetti said in a statement released by his office.

The 93-year-old steel pipe, which carries some 75,000 gallons of water per minute from a reservoir to L.A.'s Westwood neighborhood, ruptured last Tuesday afternoon just north of the University of California at Los Angeles, sending some 20 million gallons of water across the north end of campus.

The flood swamped campus athletic fields, underground parking garages and several buildings, including Pauley Pavilion, the arena built in 1965 which has become famous as home to the university's basketball teams.

The school's athletic director said on Friday that the wooden flooring of Pauley Pavilion, which underwent a $136 million renovation completed in 2012, would have to be replaced.

The water main break underscored the aging condition of much of the city's infrastructure. Officials have acknowledged that many of the pipes running beneath the city need to be replaced, but say it would take 300 years to do so.

It also comes as California suffers through a record drought that has prompted state and local authorities to impose strict water conservation measures, including fines for wasting even a few gallons on excessive lawn irrigation.

(Editing by Eric Walsh)

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