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VALLEY FOCUS | Sylmar

City Asks Caltrans to Fix Foothill Boulevard

March 17, 1998|SYLVIA L. OLIANDE

The Los Angeles Board of Public Works has asked the state to do urgent repairs on a stretch of Foothill Boulevard currently being maintained by Caltrans.

The city gave the right of way for the section from Filbert Street to Sierra Highway to Caltrans for the duration of the construction of the Golden State Freeway.

The right of way was to return to the city afterward, but a series of disputes about the road's maintenance has delayed the process since 1988.

City officials said that last year, a 10-by-20-foot block of sandstone was discovered precariously hanging over the northbound truck lane of the freeway from Foothill Boulevard, between Balboa Boulevard and Sierra Highway.

Although the sandstone has withstood decades of rain and at least two large earthquakes, the rock could become dislodged and topple onto the freeway, said Bob Paul, senior management analyst for the city's bureau of engineering.

The Board of Public Works agreed at a meeting Monday to ask that the problem be fixed before the boulevard is turned over to its care.

Caltrans officials said they hadn't seen the board's motion and could not comment on the matter Monday.

Paul said the problem has been a major sticking point between the city and the state in reaching an agreement.

"In taking [the boulevard] back, it has to be in a state of good repair," he said.

The department will now ask the City Council and the mayor to declare the issue a matter of urgent necessity, so that the work is done before the rock becomes a safety hazard.

"If there is an imminent potential problem there, we don't want it held up in jurisdictional disputes," Paul said. "As more and more rain passes through the area, it cracks open more and compromises the roadway and the slope underneath it."

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