A 3.5-mile stretch of Bouquet Canyon Road is closed indefinitely due to the continued silt buildup in the creek that has caused safety concerns.
“The road is going to remain closed all through the winter at the very least,” said Los Angeles County Public Works spokesman Steven Frasher. “We fully understand the inconvenience it causes. The creek is leaking on the road all of the time now. We have to ensure public safety, so we can’t have the road open anymore.”
The closure begins 2 miles north of Vasquez Canyon Road, or just south of the Big Oaks Lodge and ends 5.5 miles north of Vasquez Canyon Road, or about 6 miles south of Spunky Canyon Road. This section of Bouquet Canyon Road is owned by the U.S. Forest Service and is operated under permit by LA County Public Works, according to a news release.
The road closure began Thursday evening, when rain came through the Santa Clarita Valley.
“This storm that came through over the weekend forced our hand at with an earlier than planned closure,” Frasher said.
The road is closed to all through traffic, including cyclists, with the exception of emergency vehicles, Frasher said. The closure is expected until at least April 15, which officially marks the end of the winter storm season.
No homes or businesses are in the closed stretch.
Silt has been building up in the creek, which gets its water from the Bouquet Reservoir, since 2005 when heavy flooding came through the Santa Clarita Valley. The federal government has not allowed cleanup of the creek in order to protect the endangered unarmored three-spine stickleback, which is only found in the SCV.
The Reservoir not only fills the creek, but through the creek, fills the wells of homes and businesses in Bouquet Canyon. Businesses including Lombardi Ranch and LARC Ranch have been severely impacted.
Several propositions have been made to clean the creek, including realigning the road and hooking up Bouquet Canyon homes and businesses with municipal water sources.
In 2014, two gates were installed at both ends of the 3.5-mile stretch and were closed when water was let out of the creek or when storms came through the area.
Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, introduced Assembly Bill 353, in 2015 and was signed into law. The bill allows for the removal of wildlife from the creek and allow for officials to restore the creek and wildlife to to pre-flood conditions.
Public Works released a proposal for public review in August of 2016 but was turned down by public comments and officials were sent back to the drawing board, Frasher said.
CHP (Monday 3:27 p.m.)
The condition of Bouquet Canyon Creek is prompting an extended closure of a portion of Bouquet Canyon Road within Angeles National Forest. 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.
This section of Bouquet Canyon Road is owned by the U.S. Forest Service and is operated under permit by LA County Public Works. There are no homes or businesses within the closure area.
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. 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 c losure 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 (MND). Stakeholder comments received on the IS/MND are being discussed with regulatory agencies to further develop creek restoration plans.
Motorists are advised to seek alternate routes.