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Topanga Canyon Roadblock Woes

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Bob Pool reports in the 2/5/05 edition of the Los Angeles Times about how the current Topanga Canyon roadblock affects residents in the canyons and beyond.An 80-foot washout has forced the off-again, on-again closure of the heavily used route since Jan. 10. And now state highway officials say a 17-hour-per-day shutdown will likely continue through the end of March.

Some residents are happy about the slower pace but commuters are growing frustrated, many of whom say the closure has turned their own 20-minute commutes to work or school into two-hour ordeals.

"This is a complete disaster," said Daniela Morris, who has lived there 15 years.

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The washout undermined the boulevard's northbound lane three miles above the canyon's ocean mouth. Repairs are expected to cost $1.27 million and take another seven weeks for crews working around the clock to finish.

Caltrans officials this week opened the southbound lane to alternating traffic. But the flagmen-controlled flow is allowed only from 6 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m.

During midday and nighttime hours, the roadway between Topanga's village area and Pacific Coast Highway is closed by California Highway Patrol roadblocks so repair equipment can be used at the washout site.

Others are more sanguine about the closures. Pool quotes longtime canyon resident, Dan Vickers as saying "It's heaven. This is like it was in the '60s...This may be inconvenient for some, but the trade-off is beyond anything you can imagine. Without all the cars, it's like we're living in the foothills of the Sierra."