On Friday, January 8, 2016 Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles District Commander Col. Kirk Gibbs announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will be taking new interim measures to improve flood protection on the Los Angeles River during #ElNiñoLA.
Due to the expectations of a powerful El Niño season, USACE recently received emergency federal funding to put in place safety measures for the area of the river that spans from Griffith Park to Elysian Valley.
“Our river is unique — most of the year it runs nearly dry, and then during the rainy season it runs in powerful torrents as we’ve seen this week,” said Mayor Garcetti. “My top priority during El Niño is to ensure the safety of everyone in our city, and I thank the Army Corps of Engineers for taking action now to enhance the river’s flood management functions.”
The Los Angeles District of USACE determined this area needed increased capacity to keep the river in its banks. The L.A. District declared an emergency to USACE headquarters on January 6, prompting headquarters to provide $3.1 million in federal funding and nearly 3-miles of temporary barriers, known as HESCO Bastion. The temporary barriers act as industrial size sandbags, effectively raising the sides of the river channel and temporarily increasing its capacity during the winter storm rains. The District also received approximately $500,000 to begin removing water-flow impeding vegetation from the highest-risk areas within the channel, in an area just upstream and downstream of Riverside Drive and the Zoo Bridge.
Anytime rain is in the forecast the LA River Bike Path is closed for safety (shelters and resources are available for people experiencing homelessness). In the coming months, the raised barriers will allow for the expected volumes and help protect against flooding in adjacent neighborhoods. The barrier will be under construction on the bicycle path beginning Tuesday, January 19, 2016 expected to be closed for 2 weeks. During this time the LA River Bike Path will be closed from Riverside/Zoo Drive to Los Feliz Blvd (with the Alex Baum Bridge remaining open as a bicycle and pedestrian crossing across the LA River and 5 freeway) and Los Feliz Blvd and Glendale Blvd. North of this location, in the Griffith Park section of the Path, there is also an unrelated intermittent closure due to Caltrans freeway bridge rehabilitation work. During construction of the barriers we advise people to stay off these sections of the Path, which will see heavy machinery. Check out the City’s Detour Guide for getting around temporary closures on the LA River bike/ped path here.
Stay tuned for updates about construction and planned detour routes. Information will be available via our Blog (where you can also find articles about how to bike through El Nino and more!) and social media channels (@ladotbikeprog) using the hashtag #ElNiñoLA.