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405 Freeway nightmare: Even the retaining walls are weeping

August 31, 2013|By Carla Hall
  • An excavator scrapes away dirt as a surveyor keeps watch at an unfinished retaining wall along the 405 Freeway near Getty Center, south of Sunset, two years ago.
An excavator scrapes away dirt as a surveyor keeps watch at an unfinished… (Los Angeles TImes )

There’s plenty to weep over if you live near or drive around the 405 Freeway on the Westside during the seemingly endless construction project to widen it.

Now, it turns out, the freeway feels your pain and weeps along with you. Well, actually, it’s the retaining wall that keeps the hillside from cascading down onto Sepulveda Boulevard, just east of the freeway, that weeps.

For the next two weeks, crews will be working on a retaining wall -- east of the freeway -- on the east side of Sepulveda Boulevard. The task: installing weep holes.

Being one of the geeks on the 405 Construction Activity Update email string, I had to know more.

Weep holes, it turns out, are small holes that get drilled into the retaining wall to allow water to drain from the soil contained behind the wall, Erika Estrada, a Metro construction relations officer, told me. This particular stretch of wall runs from Sepulveda Way to Ovada Place.

“There’s so much to building these retaining walls — so many more components than people can see by just driving by,” says Estrada who gets excited about this stuff. Her father is a laborer working on the 405 project, so it’s kind of in her genes. “These walls are being built to outlive all of us.”

Of course, all of us who live near the 405 just don't want the construction project to outlive us; we'd like it to be finished in our lifetimes. (Date of completion is now June 2014.)

At least, the next time we're stuck in traffic on Sepulveda because of the freeway construction, we can pass the time by looking for those weep holes in the retaining wall. 

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