Council struggles over Corral fix

With the fire department favoring two-lane access to Corral Canyon, the Malibu City Council voted Monday to withdraw its past support for a single-lane repair for a portion of road that collapsed during the 1998 El Nino storms.

The L.A. County Fire Marshall favored 20 feet of pavement with shoulders of three feet on each side, for a total of 26 feet. Appreciative neighborhood residents gave their applause to fire officials at the late evening meeting. The council chose a graduated approach that will start with the construction of a $100,000 storm drain. If the drain helps stabilize the slide, the existing road could then be reconstructed on its current alignment. In the meantime, the city would secure designs for a range of options and get the necessary work permits. It would also seek an extension for applying for possible Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reimbursement for some of the costs.

Temporary repairs pending the ultimate decision were pegged at $5,000 per month. The hauling of dirt removed for grading and stabilizing the slide was set at $30 per cubic yard, unless a nearby site could be found as the destination for the material.

Geologist Scott Moors, a senior project manager with Bing Yen & Associates in Camarillo, reported even the more costly realignment alternatives, including the use of caissons, would not last forever in light of a fault line at the site.

The cost of a fully improved, 36-foot-wide road was estimated at $800,000. Councilman Tom Hasse dubbed the cheaper, more graduated option a “wait-and-see” approach. The condition of the slide will be monitored to see if it stabilizes and temporary repairs made, with a decision made in the spring on the best way to proceed.

Beverly Taki of the Corral Canyon Safety Committee said the residents had ruled out both positions favored by the council members — annexation by the city and the formation of a special benefit assessment district. She denounced any assessment as a form of double taxation and predicted L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky would not support annexation

Councilman Harry Barovsky agreed annexation is out of the question. “You don’t want it and frankly I don’t want it.”

Tom Sorce, who lives in the El Nido section of Corral Canyon, said with the slide continuing at one inch per month, the question is when the road will fail, rather than whether. He added the storm drain will lead to a long-term solution and urged an independent cost analysis be made to determine what the city can afford, saying the cost would be warranted if the life of even one child is at stake: “Has it not been said, ‘He who saves a single life saves the world?'”

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

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