Bridges to the future

Longtime residents of Malibu recognize it as a seriously dysfunctional community, which would never have incorporated if our county supervisor had been anyone except Deane Dana. His refusal to look seriously at any of our problems led to the questionable decision to incorporate and be independent of those evil influences that still torment us.

We still stand out as a “coastal city without a Local Coastal Plan. We will never get the Coastal Commission off our backs until we get one.

It is bad enough that our “government” cannot solve the problems of water, sewage and zoning but our greatest disaster is our most critical commodity, the coast highway.

Our dilemma is aggravated by the latest SNAFU, the destruction of 20 miles of the highway and the dilatory efforts to repair it, still not finished weeks after the so called “completion date.” Enough jokes have already been made about that sign right at Pepperdine’s front door saying “constructoin zone.”

We should have expected that arrogant indifference after suffering for almost two years over the Kanan-Dume disaster and the failure to repair it in any reasonable time frame.

Do not ever forget that the incredible fiasco at Las Flores was the third attempt by Caltrans to fix that problem. If it slides again, where do we go for relief?

Remember when the floods washed out the bridge on Las Flores? It would still be out today if someone had not gotten the Navy (SEABEES) to come within 48 hours with a Bailey bridge to cross the creek.

It seems obvious that the rerouting of Las Flores road and the eventual reopening of Rambla Pacifico and Hume road will never be solved by our present bureaucratic geniuses. I really was hoping those clowns would go ahead with their stupid plan to take over Deer Path Lane so we could see Ed Rafeedie and others in that situation. He would have eaten them for breakfast.

All of this is a preamble to my main thesis. Clearly, (2) we are losing more beach every day, (2) there has not been a day in the last 50 years when you could drive from Santa Monica to the Ventura County line without encountering some repair work being done on the coast highway; there is no reason to believe that will ever change. If we do not do something really major, the beach loss at many points (e.g. Las Tunas Hazard Abatement District?) will destroy the coast highway and many structures on the beach. National Geographic regularly runs stories about similar catastrophes in many places (Carolina seashore, Cape Cod, Eureka, etc.).

One example: The Hotel del Coronado was grievously threatened some years ago. Governmental agencies could do nothing to stop the erosion, so they called in some private engineers. They built a long curving sea wall which not only saved the coast, it built up an enormous beach for the hotel. What is clearly needed to protect our beaches and the coast highway in Malibu is some protection from the destructive forces of the waves.

In San Diego they have created an entire tourist city on manmade islands with fishing, boating, water skiing, every type of water recreation complete with excellent protection of the coast, expeditious and safe vehicle transport into and through the area.

Let me suggest a causeway from the McClure Tunnel out to sea with manmade islands, perhaps a harbor of refuge, or a marina, maybe even a sewage disposal plant, hotels, resorts, everything. The city fathers cannot agree on zoning, development, sewers etc. for Malibu. Fine, let them stew in their own juice. Create a new development offshore that will save the beach and the coast highway and let the through traffic zip along eight lanes while we cals [sic] creep along our decrepit two lanes on the shore.

Caltrans would be excluded from any planning or execution. Entrepreneurs with a vision might build a toll road (there are many examples in Orange County) and the revenue from hotels, motels, marinas, sewage disposal, etc., could pay it off very quickly. This kind of pay as you go solution in situations where it is desperately needed will pay off like a slot machine e.g. the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge.

These serious problems require some creative imagination, some vision, some intelligent thought for the future. We are never going to get that from Caltrans.

William F. Pollock

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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