One lane still closed on Laurel Canyon as crews repair giant sinkhole

One traffic lane in both directions on Laurel Canyon Boulevard was re-opened Monday as crews continue working to repair a 20-foot sinkhole that swallowed two vehicles on Friday, causing firefighters to rescue one woman trapped in her car.

Intermittent closures may occur throughout the day to support construction activity, according to L.A. Department of Public Works spokeswoman Elena Stern.

``Expect delays in the area and use caution while traversing through the construction zone," Stern said.

Laurel Canyon Boulevard will be closed again at 8 p.m. Monday between Moorpark Street and Ventura Place and is scheduled to re-open 6 a.m. Tuesday to allow crews to install a bypass sewer line, she said.

City teams, along with emergency contractors, were slowly working to shore up the sinkhole. Although a timeline is not yet available, repairs could take several days to complete.

``The sinkhole was probably caused by a combination of excessive rain and a possible sewer failure,'' city public works officials said. ``There were no sewer overflows and all the wastewater was contained in the sewer pipe.''

Firefighters were sent at 8:16 p.m. Friday to the sinkhole at 4245 N. Laurel Canyon Blvd., two blocks south of Moorpark Street, according to Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott.

Firefighters arrived to find one car upside-down in a large, dark sinkhole full of rushing water.

The single occupant was standing on the upside-down car, approximately 10 feet below street level, Scott said.

``Firefighters jumped into action and rapidly lowered an (20-foot) extension ladder down to the (48-year-old female) allowing her to climb out,
and transported her to a local hospital in fair condition,'' he said.

The woman told firefighters that while she was driving, she felt the car pitch to the left, then it tumbled into the sinkhole and the airbags deployed. Water started coming into the vehicle and she tried to raise the
windows, which didn't work, Scott said.

The woman said she was able to open the door and climb on top of the car and started screaming for help.

``She said she thought she was going to die,'' Scott said. ``Then she heard the firefighters yell back to her.''

The driver of the second vehicle that fell into the sinkhole was able to get out of the car unharmed, Scott said.

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