Safety concerns over the flooding of Bouquet Canyon Creek have prompted county officials to shutdown Bouquet Canyon Road for the next six months.
Weekend rains convinced officials with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works to close the flood-sensitive road as a safety precaution, fearing traffic collisions and injury.
“The condition of Bouquet Canyon Creek is prompting an extended closure of a portion of Bouquet Canyon Road within Angeles National Forest,” Public Works spokesman Steve Frasher said in a news release issued Monday.
“The road, which was closed Thursday, October 27, due to predicted rain, will remain closed to all traffic at least through winter storm season, which officially ends on April 15.”
County officials have been wrestling with ways of repairing the road for the past three years.
But since the vulnerable section of road runs through federal land, workers need a special permit from the federal government to clear the creek of debris.
Since they cannot obtain the permit, they cannot remove the silt and debris, and were compelled to close the road.
“We cannot remediate the area, which means we cannot stabilize the road,” Frasher said Monday.
This flood-prone section of Bouquet Canyon Road is owned by the U.S. Forest Service and is operated under permit by LA County Public Works.
Although there are no homes or businesses within the closure area – as county officials pointed out in their news release Monday – motorists wanting to get from Texas Canyon Road to points near the Bouquet Reservoir will now have to make a wide detour.
Several years of sediment and vegetation build-up in Bouquet Canyon Creek have compromised the creek’s ability to properly convey water within the canyon, Frasher pointed out in his release.
“Even minor creek flows lead to inundation of some sections of the adjacent roadway, creating potentially unsafe driving conditions for motorists. These conditions, and the arrival of storm season, necessitated the decision to close the road.
The closure extends from the gate approximately six miles south of Spunky Canyon Road, (near Mile Marker 12.55, just south of Big Oaks Lodge), to the gate near the southern boundary of Angeles National Forest (near Mile Marker 15.97, two miles north of Vasquez Canyon Road).
Plans for the restoration of Bouquet Canyon Creek are being developed through a rigorous environmental review process.
In August, LA County Public Works released an environmental document referred to as an Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration. Stakeholder comments received on the study are being discussed with regulatory agencies to further develop creek restoration plans.
Public Works officials were asked to “take a more comprehensive” look at repairing Bouquet Canyon Road, Frasher said. “Well beyond what we’ve proposed.”
In February 2014, Los Angeles County supervisors declared a state of local emergency for the residents of Bouquet Canyon, paving the way for what they believed at the time would be a speedy cleanup of the sediment-filled Bouquet Creek bed and the release of much-needed water from Bouquet Reservoir.
With no objections, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors OK’d a recommendation submitted by Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich proclaiming a state of local emergency, allowing agencies to bypass costly permits needed to clean up the creek bed.
Two and a half years later, officials are still talking about how best to get the job done.
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