Lane of PCH to Be Closed for Four Weeks of Landslide Work
• Cliff Between Latigo and Corral Is Longstanding Problem that Could Require Major Remediation
BY HANS LAETZ
BY HANS LAETZ
Caltrans geologists said a crack discovered in the cliff above Pacific Coast Highway at Latigo Beach is serious enough that large amounts of rock need to be removed, and sooner rather than later.
Cranes shifted concrete barriers into one of the two northwest-bound lanes on Monday, and said the lane closure will be in effect for at least four weeks.
On Jan. 27, a large number of boulders fell onto Highway 1 traffic, narrowly missing a car driven by Malibu City Councilmember Andy Stern. Crews working for the City of Malibu scooped up the slide debris quickly, and the city asked Caltrans to look at the cliff, which had a large fissure remaining.
A geologist visited the site in early February and recommended corrective action, said Caltrans spokesperson Marie Raptis. The experts did not feel, however, that an emergency closure was necessary.
The rockfall came a day after this winter’s biggest storm dropped 3.3 inches of rain in 24 hours in the area, and several months after the cliffside burned in the Corral Fire.
The cliff in question is between Corral Canyon and Latigo Canyon roads, and has been the scene of similar rockfalls and emergency removal efforts over past decades.
Raptis said the visible fissures in the cliff are serious enough to warrant emergency action, although the amount of material that needs to come down is unknown. “We have to get up into the ledges and alcoves to see what is happening,” she said.
Work will go on 24 hours a day for at least four weeks, however, as substantial amounts of cliff need to be dislodged, Raptis said.
Similar uncertainties at cliff fractures near Sunset Mesa and Las Flores Canyon have in past years led to lane closures lasting months, and traffic on a daily basis backed up in those areas east of the Malibu Civic Center.
The Latigo cliff, however, is west of the Civic Center and Malibu Canyon Road, possibly sparing evening rush hour drivers from delays where the road is narrowed to one lane. The closure’s effect may be more severe, however, on cars waiting for a gap in PCH traffic from the Corral Canyon Road intersection, where a traffic light is promised but not yet installed by the city and Caltrans.