Commuters Warned of Road Construction

Residents of Topanga Canyon may want to adjust their commuting routine for the next few weeks, as Caltrans works to shore up Topanga Canyon Road after El Nino had its way with it.

The construction project on the road began early Monday about eight miles south of Ventura Boulevard.

Caltrans officials said it was too soon to determine how long a delay commuters will face during rush hour.

"The earlier residents can get going in the morning, the better," said Caltrans spokeswoman Margie Tiritilli. "Or if they are able to take an alternate route, they might want to consider that."

To reinforce a section of the thoroughfare that was hit with a landslide two weeks ago, Tiritilli said, the agency is opening the road and placing 70-foot-long steel beams underground, a preventive measure against future problems.

The road is safe for travel now, she added.

During the $1.5-million construction project, one lane of traffic will be closed at all times near Fernwood Pacific Drive. Caltrans workers will direct traffic through the area.

But when workers are transporting the steel beams to the construction site, both lanes will be closed to all traffic for as long as 30 minutes.

Construction could last up to 100 days, but workers may be able to reduce that time substantially if they work around the clock, Tiritilli said.

Initially, the contractor plans to work at least 16 hours every day, even through inclement weather.

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