Storm reveals the weak spots in Southern California’s road network

We were gripped by a riveting video of the 20-foot sinkhole in Los Angeles that swallowed two vehicles in the wake of Friday’s storm and the I-15 collapse in the Cajon Pass that flung a fire engine around like a toy truck.

But for some, it wasn’t just dramatic, breath-taking video, it was reality TV.

Besides undermining roads in a vivid way, the monster soaker underscored the need to bolster Southern California’s aging transportation network, current and former officials said Saturday.

“I’m not surprised by any of this that is happening right now because we have been delaying maintenance everywhere,” said Hasan Ikhrata, executive director of the Los Angeles-based Southern California Association of Governments.

And former San Bernardino Mayor Patrick Morris quickly drew the same conclusion.

“I guess that’s testimony of the amount of maintenance needed in California,” Morris said by phone.

“When you get rainstorms like we’ve experienced over the last several weeks, suddenly reality sets in,” he said.

State Sen. Jeff Stone, R-Temecula, termed the damage a wake-up call – and symbol.

“It’s symbolic that we’re not paying attention to infrastructure,” Stone said. “It’s a symptom of a greater problem. It all comes down to neglect.”

SCREAMING FOR HELP

It was just after 8:15 p.m. Friday when firefighters rolled up at Woodbridge Street in Studio City, just west of Laurel Canyon Boulevard, and found a Mercedes-Benz SUV in a huge hole broiling with rushing water.

A 48-year-old woman was standing on top of the upside-down vehicle. She had scrambled out of the SUV and was screaming for help.

“Firefighters jumped into action and rapidly lowered a (20-foot) extension ladder down to the woman, allowing her to climb out,” said Erik Scott, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department.

At about the same time, dozens of miles to the east, a San Bernardino County fire truck that had been hanging seemingly by a thread…

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