Sinkhole at Monument and Swarthmore Reappears

The area at the intersection of Monument and Swarthmore Streets has once again started to sink. The City has already repaired the asphalt twice.

A sinkhole at Monument and Swarthmore, which has been paved over twice, has reappeared.

A resident wrote Circling the News: “I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, yet, that the west side of Monument at Swarthmore is collapsing again. This issue is very likely attributable to the installation of the rerouted storm drain by the Caruso folks as a condition of approval for their project [Palisades Village].

“In short, you may wish to investigate whether the City is asking Caruso to make the repairs to the collapsing street (and any other problems underlying the street), or if it’s going to fall on the shoulders of taxpayers,” the reader said in a July email. “Public money is already likely to have been spent with the City sending out emergency crews to address the collapse.”

In December 2014, this writer reported: “After the buildings are torn down, the Swarthmore storm drain must be relocated, requiring about six weeks of work.” The storm drain that serves the Alphabet Streets and hills above runs through the land purchased by Caruso Afiliated. “It runs diagonally through our site and right in the middle of the remediation work,” said Liz Jaeger, a then-spokeswoman for Caruso Affiliated. Construction started Monday, June 27, 2016, and that corner was closed to traffic.

CTN reported on one of the sinkholes in March 2019 (“Rachel Zoe Store to Close in Caruso Mall”), writing: “In order to build Palisades Village mall, a storm drain that connected Swarthmore with Sunset had to be relocated around the underground parking structure.

“Whether this growing sinkhole is related to the storm drain is unclear and Circling the News is waiting to hear from DWP why the street surface is sinking.” No apparent cause for the sinkhole was ever reported.

In July this year, CTN contacted the Bureau of Engineering/Department of Public Works and asked about the reader’s query. Director of Communications Mary Nemick wrote, “This is a private project by Caruso, which was permitted by the City of Los Angeles. To assist in resolution of the issue, the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Contract Administration and Bureau of Engineering are working with LADWP, Bureau of Street Services, Caruso and their subcontractor Bali Construction to identify the cause and support the completion of any repairs needed.

“To date, LADWP has confirmed that their facilities are not leaking,” Nemick said. “The Bureau of Street has agreed to lessen the dip in the road by placing temporary asphalt. We will continue to work with all involved parties until complete.”

On August 11, CTN contacted the City again to see if a cause had been determined. Nemick responded, “The City continues to investigate the issue.

I’m being told we should know more in a couple weeks what’s causing the problem. Would you mind checking back then?”

CTN did contact Nemick again, and on September 3 she wrote: “The problem is that there has been different work by different entities in that area over recent years. We have not been able to determine with confidence what is causing the settlement. The storm drain line that Caruso’s team had installed was cctv’d and looked good on the inside. We are continuing to investigate but if we cannot determine a cause it could be that the City will need to find a way to repair the paving.”

The sinkhole at the corner of Swarthmore and Monument in March 2019.

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