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Your GPW Editor-on-Occasion is Petra Fried in the City.
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Monday, August 19, 2013

Griffith Park construction projects update

From Lynn Brown, Equine Advisory Committee board member:
For the ongoing pipe laying project that had closed the west bound Zoo Drive, and left only one lane open eastbound on the weekend, is now completed. Zoo Drive is open for traffic, but only briefly.  A new section of pipe is to be laid on the north side of Zoo Drive, running along the road and near the equestrian trail by the freeway.  However, the digging will mostly take place in front of the Recreation and Parks Service Yard and alongside the Spinello Construction lay-down area.  The equestrian trail that passes behind it should not be impacted.  Also, Zoo Drive will be impacted with road closures again.  Rattlesnake trail will be open throughout the construction.
There will be a complete shutdown of water available to Griffith Park tentatively scheduled for the week of October 21st through the 25th.  This shutdown of water will be done to connect and weld the pipes that will carry water to the City of Los Angeles, and also to Griffith Park.
To prepare for this shutdown, all the water storage tanks in the Park will be filled to capacity.  Various businesses in the Park i.e. the Zoo, the Live Steamers, Travel Town and the Los Angeles Equestrian Center have developed contingency plans to deal with the water situation.  Basic water services should be covered, however, Griffith Park businesses will be watering lawns during this time.
The horse water tanks will be kept full by having a water truck bring water to each site to fill the tanks manually.  This shutdown of water is to be completed and the water turned back on within 72 hours, if all goes well.  Concerns were raised about the possibility of fires in the Park during the shutdown.  It was suggest that the work be delayed until early November, however, as of now, the start date is October 21st.
If all goes well, no one will notice the shutdown and there will be adequate water for all during this period.
As anyone who has ridden by the Headwork’s project knows, the construction of a giant water tank to hold the Silverlake Reservoir is in full gear. So far, it has gone smoothly, with minimum problems with equestrians getting their horses past the activity and noise.  However, soon there will be a very dangerous construction project within a few feet of the trail. First, a retaining wall will be built. Then, there will be trenching for a big ditch to lay pipe along a short stretch between the two tunnels, Tunnel 7 and 8.
New Danger signs will be posted at the entrance to both Tunnels, and flyers will be given to the major barns.  This portion of the Headworks Construction will be close up, with loud noises from cranes, huge backhoes and loads of rebar and metal plates being moved into place. DWP understands that this is a major inconvenience for the equestrian public.  They have worked hard to minimize any problems for the trail.
It is unavoidably dangerous, and impossible to mitigate.  The construction people have agreed to place the main part of the cranes/backhoes off the direct proximity of the trail, when possible.  They also agreed to pause in the work while equestrians pass by, if possible, if they see you. The work is expected to take a month to complete.
The trail between the two tunnels will remain open, with signage directing people with nervous horses to go to Tunnel 6 to access the Park trails from there.  It will be up to the public to decide if their horses can deal with all this noise and challenge.
The good news is that the Construction people say that this is absolutely the worst part of this project, and once it’s over, they will be moving back off the trail to quieter activity.  Construction is expected to last until the end of 2014.
DWP and the City of Los Angeles are under a Federal mandate brought by the terrorism attacks on 9/11.  All potable water now must be completely covered to protect our drinking water sources.  A second huge tank will be constructed to store another lake over by Forest Lawn Cemetery in the future, but will be so far away as to not interfere with the trail use between the two tunnels.