Construction crew has a close call with fast-rising L.A. River

Fast rising L.A. River submerges pick up truck near Fletcher Drive. Photo by Peter Merryman

It does not take much rain to quickly raise the water level of L.A. River. That’s what a construction crew working in the riverbed learned this afternoon as fast-rising water breached a temporary concrete barrier near Atwater Village, according to Peter Merryman, who witnessed the sight as he and his wife walked across the Fletcher Drive bridge.  Workers were able to drive off in two pick up trucks, but a third, apparently unoccupied truck was left partially submerged. Merryman took photos and described the scene that unfolded before them at about 1 p.m.:

My wife and I happened to be walking across the LA River on the Fletcher Bridge when we noticed that the water level was just starting to rise. It started flowing over the very ends of the concrete barriers that have dammed the river for the bridge renovation crew. Within five minutes it was flowing over the top of the barriers all along their length.

I finally brought out my phone camera when we saw the barrier on the north side give way, getting pushed and folded up by the water … There were three trucks for the crew parked there, two of them drove out in time, but one was left stranded.

Merryman said fire units arrived on the scene. “I saw no one was injured or trapped, just a stranded and now flooded truck.”

Water washes over temporary construction barrier. Photo by Peter Merryman


  1. I was there too, I was so engrossed by the events that I didn’t pull out my camera until after the exciting stuff- but here is what it looked like just afterwards!



  2. Am wondering who the super was on-site, and how (assuming it was a he) he did not understand that when it rains rivers, real or concrete, esp. concrete channels, will rise to dangerous poss deadly levels.

  3. Water surges not just caused by rain . The dams upstream that let water out into the channel when a storm is expected. This is LA County Flood Control procedure to protect their dams. Ironic, isn’t it?

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