LADWP to close Coldwater Canyon

Claire Goldsmith

Coldwater Canyon will be closed from Mulholland Drive to Ventura Boulevard from Saturday, March 23 through Thursday, April 25. The closure will last from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.  every weekday and from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturdays, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power representative Greg Bartz said.
Students who drive to school, parents and faculty will receive placards allowing them to access Coldwater Canyon during the closure, Head of Campus Operations J.D. DeMatte said. During the hours of the closure, drivers who leave Harvard-Westlake can only head north toward Ventura and will not be able to make a left out of the main driveway or Hacienda Drive.
During the month-long closure, one lane will remain open for emergency vehicles and residents will have access passes. Additional street closures may occur at various points, Assistant to the Head of Upper School Michelle Bracken told students in an email.
Since Saturday, March 9, drivers have not been able to turn left from Coldwater Canyon onto Ventura Boulevard from either the north or south side of the intersection. make a left across Coldwater from the road between Ted Slavin Field and Weiler Hall. Due to flagging and intermittent street closures, traffic swamped the 0.4 mile stretch of Coldwater Canyon from Harvard-Westlake Driveway to Ventura Boulevard,  extending a typically two minute journey to a nearly quarter hour drive.

Student access passes were available in Bracken’s office Friday, March 8 and Monday, March 11. Harvard-Westlake printed the placards for LADWP, DeMatte said.

DeMatte and Vice President John Amato met with LADWP and representatives from City Councilmember Paul Krekorian’s office to coordinate access for students and faculty during the closure. The first two weeks of the closure will fall during Harvard-Westlake’s spring break.

“It may work out really well for us because in theory, without all the traffic going by, it could be quicker,” DeMatte said.

DeMatte said that senior privileges and late arrivals to school due to a first period free would not be impacted, but warned students and parents to “leave an extra 20 minutes early, especially in the first few days, to figure out the traffic situation.”

Bracken warned those taking the SAT Saturday, March 9 to leave extra time to get to school on the first day of street closures. Echoing DeMatte, she told students to allow themselves up to 30 minutes of extra time to navigate the construction daily once the closure starts.

Extra Harvard-Westlake security will be stationed at the top of Coldwater Canyon by Treepeople and at the corner of Ventura and Coldwater Canyon, along with Department of Transportation security, to give access passes to any parents or students who forget theirs.

The closure is the latest step in the LADWP replacement of the water mains underneath Coldwater Canyon. While the street is closed, they will complete the “energizing phase” of the project, which will involve using large cranes to fill the new pipes with water, necessitating the closure, DeMatte said.

“We’ve been working with DWP for the last five years on this project,” DeMatte said. “They’ve been amazingly good to us, and they’ve done a great job of the construction.”

LADWP had previously stated that the entire Coldwater Canyon construction project would be finished by September 2015. DeMatte said that it could be finished only a few weeks after the closure ends.

“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” DeMatte said. “By mid-May, this could be done forever.”