Crews work round the clock to save apartment building

December 25, 2009 7:07:12 PM PST
On Esplanade Avenue in Pacifica, work crews are finally with their families after spending much of Christmas Day on the job.

They're working frantically to save an apartment building from falling off a cliff and into the pacific, and it's a struggle against the forces of nature that has also become-- a spectacle.

When David Chamberlain returned to check out his old neighborhood in Pacifica, it was not nearly as quiet as he remembered.

"I miss the view but it looks a little dangerous," he said.

It has become a construction zone -- a marvel of short-term road building and now a caterpillar operation.

"So now we have the machine down there, and all the rocks we drop, we can place," said contractor Tony Fortunato.

That's the headline on day nine of a December saga that keeps on going, right through Christmas cheer.

"We knew last Sunday we would be out here," said bystander Joe Perry.

Out here, down there, shoring up the base of the sandstone cliff, struggling to save four Pacifica apartment buildings from an approaching precipice.

"Well, you can't stop mother nature," Perry.

But stalling her -- that's the option and for visitors from as far away as Oakland that is the attraction.

"I mean, everything is temporary. Nothing is permanent in life," said Perry.

They hope the repairs might last 50 years, long enough to meaningfully extend the lives of these buildings, this neighborhood and bring peace of mind to its tenants. in the absence of disaster, they see promise.

"We stopped the undercutting at this point," said Fortunato.

But no rest, yet, not with storms approaching and heavy surf. There are a mere 80,000 tons of granite rocks holding back an ocean.


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