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San Pedro landslide worsens, now 'life-threatening' hazard

November 14, 2011 |  3:22 pm

San Pedro landslide
A slow-moving landslide on a coastal bluff in San Pedro is worsening, the shifting ground now exposing huge, sinking crevices along Paseo Del Mar and dropping chunks of earth and concrete into the ocean below.

The slide is serious enough now that city crews are fencing off the crumbling, 100-foot bluff in an effort to keep onlookers from getting dangerously close for views of the mass of land sliding toward the sea.

City workers, who have been scrambling to clear the slide area of vulnerable infrastructure, broke ground Friday on an 8-foot-high chain-link fence. The move came a day after various city and county agencies met at Los Angeles City Hall to discuss the response to the coastal bluff failure.

PHOTOS: Cracks and fissures along a San Pedro coastal road

City officials in a report called the landslide area “an immediate and life-threatening hazard” to spectators.

LAPD is boosting patrols to monitor the closed-off site for trespassers and vandals.

The city also plans to commission a geological study to determine the full extent of the bluff failure, identify weak and susceptible rock and use monitoring equipment to determine the stability of surrounding land, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s office said.

City engineers have been tracking the land’s movement near White Point Nature Preserve since fissures first started appearing last spring.

Though the city says the slide is far enough from a nearby neighborhood that no buildings are at risk, it did close a 900-foot stretch of the two-lane road in September, putting up warning signs and barricades to keep out drivers and pedestrians.

The warnings, apparently, have not been enough; there has been intense curiosity by neighbors, and workers have arrived to the slide on weekend mornings to find dog walkers and other visitors who have sneaked in or jumped the construction fence to take a look at the damage.

“I don’t think everybody understands how dangerous it is in here,” said Hector Bordas, area engineer for the L.A. County Department of Public Works, which is hurrying to re-route two major storm drains from under the sinking roadway.


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Photo: A coastal bluff on Paseo del Mar in San Pedro is slowly buckling and sliding toward the ocean. Credit: Christina House / For The Times