Massive sinkhole shuts down intersection in Santa Cruz

A stretch of road in Santa Cruz was closed on Saturday due to a massive sinkhole that drops about 40 feet to the ocean below.
March 1, 2014 5:57:44 PM PST
The Bay Area saw spotty showers in some parts of the region on Saturday. But it's the high surf that caused some big problems.

West Cliff Road in Santa Cruz is down to just one lane and people are walking in the opposite lane. The sidewalk itself blocked off because a massive 10 foot by 10 foot sinkhole. It drops about another 40 feet to the ocean below. It was spotted at about 9:30 Saturday morning.

Santa Cruz Public Works crews say the storm-whipped ocean washed huge rocks out of a beach cave that reaches toward the street.

"The waves were strong enough to pull that rock out," said Steve Wolfman an associate civil engineer with Santa Cruz Public Works.

Police shut down a stretch of West Cliff Road at Woodrow Avenue all morning until public works crews could assess the danger.

The storm surf below also damaged the sidewalk and sprayed through spaces on the curb.

"When the water comes up it forced the sidewalk up and you could see along the curb and gutter where there's actually water that came up through that location also," Wolfman said.

The storm waves also created a spectacle at a house. They blew a hole through the driveway. County crews will assess the extent of any damage there.

Through the day there were a few quick sprinkles of rain in Santa Cruz. But the huge waves crashing ashore were the most visible part of this storm.

Near the sinkhole, one neighbor figured it formed pretty quickly because of beach erosion.

"I mean, there used to be places to park on the other side of this fence," neighbor Santa Cruz resident Jennifer Goldbeck said. "But through the years they've all been eroded away, so there's lots of places where it's undercutting."

Public works crews cordoned off the area to make sure people don't get too close to the hole, which drops down to the ocean below.


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