Freeway Sinkage Is Studied

A stretch of the Santa MonicaFreeway that was rebuilt after the 1994 earthquake will be shut down overnight for tests to determine the cause of a dip that has developed in the roadway, Caltrans officials said.

The nighttime closure comes in the wake of the closure of a section of the new Century Freeway for four nights this week while crews tried to figure out the extent of drainage problems.

A Caltrans spokeswoman said Wednesday that traffic officials believe the slight depression across the eastbound lanes of the Santa Monica Freeway--now showing up in the westbound lanes near La Cienega Boulevard--was earthquake-related.

Officials said the problem was not related to the rush to reopen the freeway after the quake. The freeway was reopened 84 days after the temblor.

Officials said there is no danger to motorists.

The eastbound Santa Monica Freeway at La Cienega was to be closed late Wednesday and reopened at 5 a.m. today, and the westbound lanes were to be shut down at Venice Boulevard from midnight tonight to 5 a.m. Friday.

On the Century Freeway, engineers are trying to figure out why the Bellflower Boulevard ramp has sunk.

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