Caltrans Alert

Drivers wait for the pilot car to guide them through the closure on lower Topanga Canyon Blvd., as seen in the rear-view mirror of a commuter caught in the near-daily shutdowns. Expect delays. Photo by Suzanne Guldimann

Road closures continue as crews clean up mess left by winter storms and stabilize slopes.

Topanga residents and Topanga Canyon Blvd. commuters faced more mudslides, road closures, and delays, while Caltrans mopped up multiple messes.

The road re-opened after a Caltrans geologist assessed that all loose rocks and potential dangerous debris had been removed, but closures to allow crews to work on stabilizing slopes will continue.

“As was previously announced, Caltrans will be working on a long-term solution this spring to stabilize the hillsides along Topanga Canyon Boulevard,” a Topanga Chamber of Commerce alert states. “This project is considered high priority because of the fragility of the slopes.”

Caltrans Senior Construction Engineer Michael Dipsia explained that the work will take place from February through June. “Highway 27 will be closed periodically during that time between Pacific Coast Highway and Jalan, Jalan (just south of Grandview)—and only between PCH and Jalan, Jalan,” Dipsia stressed. 

“Four vulnerable hillside areas within the Scenic Highway will be fitted with more than 3,500 linear feet of steel netting. The project is still in the planning and scheduling phase, so more specific closure dates are being determined,” said Dipsia

In order to minimize disruption, Caltrans will close only one lane as often as possible but commuters can expect periodic “hard” closures in both directions. The majority of the work will occur overnight between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Daytime work is expected to take place for an estimated four hours on three separate weekend days during the construction period.

With heavy rains and the aftermath of the Woolsey Fire impacting most of the other canyon routes from the Valley to Pacific Coast Highway, and multiple closures already frequent, travelers can expect longer than usual drive times while the rainy season persists, even when there aren’t lane closure on TCB. Drivers are asked to be “Work Zone Alert,” i.e., slow down, pay attention to signs, cones, and work crews, and to be aware that more rain may cause additional rock slides and more closures and delays, in addition to the scheduled closures.

Topanga businesses will remain open during the closures and the Chamber is currently working with Caltrans to promote its “Topanga Is Open for Business” message.

One of the several slopes needing cleanup and stabilization as a result of recent winter
storms. Photo courtesy of Caltrans

The Caltrans Approved Closure Plan, used during recent closures, places electronic road signs that notify  motorists, directs them away from Fernwood and Tuna Canyon, and publicizes “Topanga Town Open.”  

“Caltrans, Los Angeles County, and Topanga Organizations, including TASC, the Topanga Town Council, and TCEP, understand that these closures will be a challenge and are working diligently to keep the community informed,” Community Liaison for the Chamber, Joseph Rosendo, wrote in the alert.

RESOURCES

For the latest on scheduled closures check the Chamber’s social media accounts @TopangaChamber; TCEP.org; and the Town Council.  

Caltrans’ live road conditions map shows all road work, closures, and problems, such as rock slides.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works also routinely updates its road closure alerts page.

Closures will also be posted to onetopanga.com and Nextdoor Topanga.

 

Suzanne Guldimann
Suzanne Guldimann

Suzanne Guldimann is an author, artist, and musician who lives in Malibu and loves the Santa Monica Mountains. She has worked as a journalist reporting on local news and issues for more than a decade, and is the author of nine books of music for the harp. Suzanne's newest book, "Life in Malibu", explores local history and nature. She can be reached at suzanne@messengermountainnews.com

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