Crews make progress on Pacifica cliff

December 23, 2009 6:02:19 PM PST
Work crews in Pacifica believe they are getting the upper hand on the stemming the erosion of an ocean front cliff. This week high winds and big surf delayed efforts to reinforce the crumbling cliff face, but now crews say they are making progress.

It has been a good day for the crews in Pacifica; they have completed a road down to the beach and now trucks are carrying a lot more rock to the crumbling cliff face.

The crews think they will have emergency protection for the most vulnerable spots in place by Saturday. The city of Pacifica has declared an emergency, requesting a quarry in San Rafael to stay open this weekend so they can get more rock down in front of the neighboring apartments; the quarry has agreed.

The road is a big step forward in terms of getting rocks onto the beach in front of the most unstable part of the cliff. For nearly a week cranes have been hoisting rock onto the beach, but the project's chief engineer says with the road trucks can double that in just a couple of days.

"We're hoping we'll have the rock buttress in place by Saturday so that'll be in place before the next storm series comes in so we'll actually be one a little bit early," Steve O'Conner of Engineered Soil Repairs said.

It cannot come too soon. Tuesday, a big chunk of cliff fell away right at the edge of the apartments at 330 Esplanade Avenue.

"We lost about 10 feet you can actually look over the side and see where the rocks are, I mean it's just gone," neighbor Rick Jenkins said.

Looking over the side Wednesday morning was the owner of the apartment building. Farshid Samsami has shied away from reporters this past week and Wednesday he said he is still not ready to talk publicly about what has happened.

"We're meeting with our attorney next week and after that we will have a conversation for sure," he said.

O'Conner says his crews will be able to save the apartment building and even put back some of the ground that was lost yesterday.

"If we left it to where it's right at the edge of the patio it would probably only appeal to probably bungee jumpers; not too many of us are bungee jumpers, so," he said.

Down the street where the road to the beach cuts down the cliff faces the owner of the Chit Chat cafe is not very happy about the road.

"It just seems like they're degrading the cliff here," Paul Kukielka said.

Kukielka says there used to be another road in the same spot but it washed away.

But O'Conner says the road is actually doing more to buttress the cliff.


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