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Work to begin on removing portions of temporary L.A. River flood barrier

Temporary barrier at the Sunnynook Foot Bridge

ATWATER VILLAGE — Work will begin early this month to remove portions of a temporary flood-control barrier along the L.A. River and restore access to cyclists, pedestrians and equestrians. However, for now, it appears that large sections of the barrier will be left in place in the most flood-prone sections of the Atwater area.

The four-foot-high, sand-filled barrier was installed in January on both sides of the river roughly between Griffith Park on the north and Fletcher Drive on the south in response to forecasts of heavy El Niño rains that never materialized. The $3 million barrier was built along the edge of the concrete river channel, which in some cases forced the closure of the adjacent walking and bike paths as well as access to the Sunnynook foot bridge, aka Atwater Love Lock Bridge, and an equestrian crossing.

On the west bank of river next to Griffith Park and Los Feliz, all of the temporary barrier will be removed from the bike and walking path just north of Los Feliz Boulevard, according to a statement issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. On the east bank next to Atwater, only small sections of the barrier will be opened to provide access at the equestrian crossing near Verdant Street, the pedestrian bridge at Sunnynook Drive, and at a point south of Dover Street.

“As capacity is restored in the channel from our operations and maintenance activities, we will continue to remove additional temporary barriers,” said David Van Dorpe, Los Angeles District deputy for programs and project management, said in a statement. “We’re moving forward deliberately to ensure we can restore as much public access as possible.”

The growth of vegetation and build up of sediment in the river bed in the Atwater area has reduced the capacity of the channel and raised the risk of flooding, according to officials. Army Corps spokesman Jay Field said the agency operations and maintenance activities include the strategic removal of accumulated sediment and vegetation. “As these activities restore capacity, we can open more areas to public access,” he said in an email.

Crews will be working six days a week but the removal work is still anticipated to take several weeks. Once that barrier is removed, the pathway will be evaluated before being reopened to cyclists, according to the Army Corps.

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3 comments

  1. Can you also remove that large homeless shelter on the river/bike pathway right at the Glendale Blvr underpass? Those people took over that whole lane and we can’t walk/ride with those drunks wandering the pathway

  2. $3 MILLION to close a path but there was no budget for a couple hundred thousand more to stripe a detour on surface streets in Frog Town?

    Screw you too, Corps of Engineers and City of LA. Shaking my fist at the screen trying to not cuss right now.

  3. The flood control barrier is a joke, a $3 million boondoggle that saved no one from anything. The water never even reached halfway up the banks this year in the upper part of the Narrows. The barrier severely inhibits access to the water and paths for people and wildlife. On top of that, its sand-filled open-top fabric cages are only dumping more sediment into the river channel. When the wind is blowing now, it’s like walking through a sandstorm up there. The barricade also prevented the area north of Los Feliz Blvd. from being cleared of trash at the river cleanup last month. And they say the east side path won’t be restored to its former state? Promises, promises. Whatever, the city ruins everything eventually. I’ve gotten skilled at jumping the barricade and evading the razor wire, but for most it’s too challenging. That leaves the channel more or less deserted except for me and the homeless.

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