The recent emergency closure of East Coast Highway between Seaward and Morning Canyon roads in Corona del Mar was much more dramatic than newspaper accounts of the story.
Residents of Shorecliffs, Corona Highlands, Cameo Highlands and Cameo Shores were completely isolated from their fellow Newport Beach citizens for many hours. Traffic from the east was halted at Morning Canyon and redirected back to Laguna Canyon Road.
Many commuters vehemently objected. Impatience became frustration, then turned chaotic. Cars peeled off right and left like fighter squadrons seeking an escape route, racing through Corona Highlands and Shorecliffs only to come to dead-ends and thus rejoin the monumental tie-up.
For many resident spectators the entire scene seemed like a dress rehearsal for disaster. Cause of the tie-up: an eight-inch water pipe!