Winds slow crews working on Pacifica cliff

December 22, 2009 6:05:46 PM PST
High winds are slowing down the efforts to shore up a crumbling cliff in Pacifica. The gusts are making it too dangerous for the heavy cranes and other equipment.

Crews are doing their best to work around the high winds. They are using excavators and dump trucks so they are still making progress, but when it comes to lifting four ton boulders high up in the air, that is a risk they are not willing to take.

The two cranes that have taken over a section of Esplanade Avenue in Pacifica have not been moving any boulders as high winds have put any heavy lifting on hold.

"It's too dangerous, you can't take a heavy load up with 40 mph gusts; it's not wise," Tony Fortunato of Engineered Soil Repairs said.

Crews instead are focusing their efforts on finishing an access road to the bottom of the cliff.

Once again, they are using rock for their project as boulders are being laid for the road's foundation.

Pacifica residents Mia Liban and son Lyon came to see it for themselves.

"My son Lyon loves dump trucks and cranes and all that, we've been seeing it on the news so we had to come see it in person," Liban said.

Crews expect to finish the access road Wednesday afternoon, at which point they will be able to resume work on the beach.

They are creating a barrier of boulders in hopes it will absorb the impact of the pounding surf and keep the cliff from crumbling.

Neighbors are watching closely. Ever since the apartment building at 330 Esplanade was evacuated, they have noticed the cliff has continued to give way.

"The waves are so rough and they keep crashing against the shore, or whatever the dirt and it keeps crumbling and crumbling and crumbling and pretty soon they're not going to be there anymore," neighbor Darlene Coehlo said.

Workers are not sure when they will finish the job. They say they will probably work through Christmas.

Once the access road is finished, moving those boulders down to the beach is expected to go a lot faster, about four to five times as fast. Each crane could only hold one to two rocks at a time. A dump truck can carry as many as 10.


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