Caltrans Offers Behind-the-Scenes Look at Clearing a Mudslide

Rainfall causes flooding and a mudslide on Topanga Canyon Boulevard.

Days after a March 2 mudslide closed Topanga Canyon Boulevard, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) gave a behind-the-scenes look at how it deals with those types of situations.

Heavy rainfall, which caused flooding and a mudslide, forced the area—from Pacific Coast Highway to Grand View Drive—to close. The area was also closed in early January following the first rain storm of 2018.

In a phone call with The Malibu Times, Caltrans District 7 Public Information Officer Michael Comeaux said, “That area is susceptible to mudslides.” This is true of many of our area’s canyon roads.

Fortunately, due to “prior slope stabilization and other debris and erosion control measures,” the area affected along Topanga Canyon Boulevard was limited.

A contractor was brought in to clear the mud and debris lining the road and shoulders. This allowed Caltrans to reopen the road within 30 hours of the original closure announcement. 

Similar storms in January 2017 prompted the department to “take measures to limit the potential threat of debris and slides during the rainy season,” according to a post Caltrans published online. This included erecting temporary concrete barriers, building a “debris-flow fence” and installing a cable mesh along slopes that had previously burned in wildfire.

According to Caltrans, the mesh was able to help stop a huge portion of debris from falling onto the road.

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