The Big Dig is about to Begin

Coastline sewer replacement construction will cause lane closures on Via Marina

Preliminary construction work for the Venice Dual Force Main sewer replacement project began last week in the Marina Peninsula, initiating a three-year construction process that will at various stages impact Marina del Rey, the Silver Strand and Playa del Rey.

The new sewer line will originate from the Venice Pumping Plant at 140 Hurricane St., cross the Grand Canal eastbound to Marquesas Way, and then head south all the way down Via Marina. The line will then cross the Marina del Rey and Ballona Creek channels to Pacific Avenue, where it will continue south to meet an existing sewer junction on Vista Del Mar near Waterview Street.

Los Angeles Department of Public Works crews began preliminary work on April 24 near Hurricane Street, which includes surveys of noise and vibration levels, documenting the current site conditions, fencing, utility relocation and land surveying, among other work.

“The real excavation work will begin in July,” said Tonya Durrell, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation, which is also overseeing the project.

Regular construction hours are from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, with Public Works officials expecting to complete the entire length of the project by the summer of 2020. Work will begin and wrap up on the northern end before heading south.

“The initial goal is to finish at Hurricane, Marquesas Way and Via Marina first,” said Gevork Mkrtchyan, an engineer at Public Works who is the construction manager for the dual force main project.

Traffic impacts in Marina del Rey will include lane closures on Via Marina, though a county fact sheet promises at least one lane of access in each direction will remain available at all times.

Other impacts include a temporary reduction of 63 parking spaces at County Lot 13 (4601 Via Marina) as well as removal of three adjacent Italian stone pine trees and two paper bark trees.

Tall noise barriers “that will look similar to walls of plywood” will be placed around construction shafts to mitigate noise, according to the document.

L.A. County officials took the city of L.A to court in an attempt to move the sewer line away from Via Marina onto Pacific Avenue, but ultimately lost that battle in 2013.

The new pressurized 54-inch sewer main will buttress an existing 48-inch main that city sanitation officials say has been in continuous operation for 50 years without any maintenance and is in dire need of replacement or repair to avoid a potentially catastrophic rupture.

For more information, visit and search under “Special Projects,” email, or call (213) 978-0333 during business hours or (800) 773-2489 on nights and weekends.

— Gary Walker


3.1 Quake Hits Near Santa Monica, Causing ‘One Big Jolt’

Yes, that was an earthquake you felt on Monday night. A 3.1-magnitude temblor hit between Pacific Palisades and Santa Monica at 10:28 p.m. on May 1, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Despite being relatively tiny and brief, response to the quake lit up social media and more than 2,526 people took the time to contact USGS about it.

Santa Monica Planning Commissioner Jennifer Kennedy was out jogging when the quake hit and didn’t even notice it, but on her way home she heard several of her neighbors having animated discussions about it.

“My son and my husband greeted me at the door,” Kennedy said. “They described it as one big jolt.”

— Gary Walker

Police Commission Wants Your Input on Body Camera Footage

This weekend is your last chance to weigh in on whether the LAPD should release police officer body camera footage to the public.

The Los Angeles Police Commission, a civilian oversight panel, is in the process of developing local policies and is accepting public comment at until Sunday, May 7.

LAPD officers began wearing body cameras in 2015, but whether and how the department should release footage remains to be determined.

Officers involved in the fatal police shooting of Brendon Glenn in Venice on May 5, 2015, were wearing body cameras that they had purchased themselves. That footage has not been released to the public, and a decision on whether to prosecute the officer who fired on Glenn is still forthcoming from the L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey.

— Gary Walker

Child Abducted in Venice is Recovered in Marina del Rey

A 6-year-old boy abducted by his mother in Venice last week was safely reunited with his guardians after a police pursuit that ended on Lincoln Boulevard in Marina del Rey.

The mother, who does not have custodial rights, allegedly took her son from Coeur d’Alene Avenue Elementary School at just before 8:30 a.m. on April 26, LAPD officer Sal Ramirez said.

“After an extensive search, the suspect was seen driving a gold 2004 BMW later that day at Lincoln Boulevard and Oakwood Avenue,” Ramirez said.

A short police pursuit followed, with officers taking the mother into custody at around 7:17 p.m. and reuniting him with his father and aunt.

— Gary Walker

Alcohol a Factor in Fatal Washington Boulevard Crash

The driver suspected of causing the fatal three-car collision last month on Washington Boulevard has been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while driving under the influence of alcohol, county prosecutors announced Tuesday.

The April 10 crash near Via Marina killed 23-year-old vacationing Georgia firefighter Ron Herens.

Benjamin Albert Seider, 24, of Los Angeles has pleaded not guilty to the charges and faces more than 12 years in state prison if convicted, said L.A. County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago.

According to prosecutors, Seider was found to be driving with a blood alcohol level of at least .08%.

Witnesses told police that the driver later identified as Seider was traveling eastbound on Washington Boulevard at high rates of speed at around 10 p.m. and ran at least one red light before colliding with multiple vehicles.

— Gary Walker