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Henninger Flats repair underway

April 24, 2009 |  4:33 pm

Well, glory, hallelujah, the giant landslide below Henninger Flats in Altadena is finally being fixed. I hadn't been to that section of Eaton Canyon in months, so was unaware that work had begun (photo below). Thanks to alert Outposts readers for notifying me. As I'd pointed out in earlier posts, work was supposed to have been completed by April 2008 to repair a slide that occurred after heavy rains in 2005. The slide blocks access to the Mt. Wilson Toll Road, a hiking trail that rises steeply 2.7 miles to Henninger Flats.

Henninger slide work 

According to Gary Takara of Pasadena Water and Power, work began at the end of February and is expected to be completed by late June. Workers are about halfway through installing devices called gabion walls to stabilize the hillside. These are mesh basket-like cages made of fencing material and filled with boulders, to serve as an anchor against the downslope side of the slide.

The next step will be to drill into the side of the mountain and install rock anchors, which are large cable-like structures to hold things in place. Ideally, Takara says, vegetation will grow over and obscure all this hardware.

Why the huge delay with the repair? Takara said there were several repair plans and because of the tricky geology, the pros and cons of each had to be weighed, which took time. Plus funding was a big issue: there was a lot of back and forth with L.A. County, FEMA and the state Office of Emergency Services, and FEMA finally provided about $1.5 million. At any rate, access to Henninger via the Toll Road is still prohibited and work on the repair is during daylight hours on weekdays, with some work permitted on Saturdays.

When work on slide is completed, Takara said the Pinecrest Drive gate would reopen, with hours to be decided on by water and power management. I'll keep an eye on the repair and post updates as work proceeds.

— Julie Sheer

Photo by Steve Hymon