Watch CBS News

Topanga Canyon businesses struggling with extended road closure due to landslide

Extended Topanga Canyon landslide hurting businesses
Extended Topanga Canyon landslide hurting businesses 03:05

Business owners in Topanga Canyon are devastated by the news that an already lengthy street closure will continue until at least fall because of a number of landslides in the area. 

The closure, which has already been in place for several weeks on Topanga Canyon Boulevard, has severely impacted the flow of potential business heading through the area, much to the despair of shop owners and restaurants. 

Aerial view of a landslide impacting Topanga Canyon Boulevard.  KCAL News

"Absolutely devastating news," said Corinne Levine, who owns a business in the area that sells handmade furniture, decor and crystals. Since the closure, she says her business has been nearly cut in half. 

Busto and Sun Custom Hats owner Enrico Busto says it's been even worse for them, with numbers showing their between 70 and 80 percent down from normal. 

"We decide to open in the worst moment of the pandemic, was October 2020, but now the closure is bringing us more damage than the pandemic itself," Busto said. 

The first landslides hit in early March during severe rain, and Caltrans officials say that they don't have any plans to reopen the road because of the looming threat that they could continue in coming weeks. 

They say that more than 9 million pounds of dirt and debris would need to be cleared, and the water still saturating the area from beneath the ground continues to make the area unstable. 

In an effort to bring some attention back to the area and get people to their shops, business owners are planning a bi-weekly event called "Visit Topanga Canyon," where there will be live music and different other entertainment. They're currently handing out fliers to help highlight what's in the area, and making maps to help guide visitors to their shops via alternate routes. 

"They have to navigate through very windy roads, but we do say, 'We're here, we're open,'" Levine said. "Please come visit our shops, please support us."

One local man, who has been in the area for 25 years, says it's city and state leaders that need to get to work to save the businesses and get the road fixed more quickly. 

Wet weather creates issues for drivers in Topanga Canyon 01:45

"It's so political to me," Val Garay said. "Caltrans is classic drag their feet unless they're paid. It's pathetic that they're letting all these people, you know, that give their life's blood to these businesses in Topanga and don't do anything to help them. ... Give them money, do something, but don't just let them sit here and let them languish until there's nobody here."

On Saturday, state and local officials toured the area to see what can be done to get things opened more quickly. 

"Reopening Topanga Canyon Blvd. safely and swiftly is an urgent priority," said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Lindsey Horvath. "CalTrans contractors shared with us the steps that need to be taken to stabilize the slide, remove material in the roadway, and reopen this essential access point."

Horvath was joined by Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin, California State Transportation Agency Secretary Toks Omishakin and CalTrans District 7 Director Gloria Roberts. 

"I urged that we move as quickly as possibly while keeping crews safe," Horvath continued. "And that we do this urgently now while also planning for the future given the reality of our ever-changing climate. We share a commitment to bring in the best experts and to weekly coordination with the goal of accelerating a safe reopening.''

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.