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Community News: Mid-City

MID-CITY : Caltrans to Fence Out Transients

February 28, 1993|JAKE DOHERTY

The state Department of Transportation will install a fence around the Hoover Street off-ramp of the Santa Monica Freeway to keep transients from congregating under the freeway bridge.

The new security fence is to be installed in May, said Russell Snyder, a Caltrans spokesman. Some area residents had asked Caltrans to install the fence sooner, but the agency is carefully developing plans for the fence because it would be the first of its kind in the city and, if successful, could be used elsewhere, Snyder said.

The proposed fence is thicker than the typical chain-link fence, with smaller openings in the mesh, Snyder said. With a thicker, tighter mesh, the fence will be more difficult to cut or climb. In some places, the fence would be secured in a concrete base to prevent anyone from pulling it out or tunneling under it, Snyder said.

The new fence will cost about $70 a foot compared with $10 a foot for a regular chain-link fence, but "it's a little like comparing apples and oranges" because standard chain-link comes only in sections six-feet high, whereas the new fence will be 10-feet high, Snyder said. Moreover, regular chain-link fences already proved ineffective in keeping people out from under the bridge, he said. The Hoover Street fence is expected to cost about $25,000.

Two weeks ago, Caltrans moved about a dozen people from under the bridge along with their belongings. Police arrested six people near that spot Feb. 19 on narcotics-related charges.

Snyder said that while it is unlikely that the fence could be installed before May, Caltrans maintenance patrols will monitor the area in the interim.

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