The good news comes on the heels of reports of another landslide that took a portion of Hume Road with it.
By Troy Dove/Special to The Malibu Times
After another road failure in Malibu occurred early Sunday morning, the California Department of Transportation announced this week that all four lanes of Pacific Coast Highway would be open by Friday.
Caltrans announced in a press release Tuesday that the fourth lane, which has been closed for several months as work continued to stabilize the massive slide above the highway near Topanga Canyon Boulevard, would reopen by April 15. However, Caltrans said it might be necessary to close lanes temporarily to move equipment and perform other tasks, and that intermittent delays are still possible.
Work will continue on the hillside, including the installation of mesh netting for slope stabilization.
A large reminder of the continuing damage left in the wake of recent storms, a portion of Hume Road collapsed Sunday morning, leaving area residents few options for in and out access. And although many roads damaged by the winter storms have been repaired and completely reopened, a few major arteries still remain restricted.
“There are ongoing situations,” said Ken Pellman, Spokesman for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works.
As for the landslide that resulted in a portion of Hume Road collapsing between Briarbluff Drive and Rambla Pacifico, Pellman said, “There’s been some movement going on there [Hume Road] for a few weeks, but it really got dramatic.”
Rambla Pacifico and Los Flores area residents had been using Hume Road as a detour when Las Flores Canyon Road was closed for repairs. Further hampering drivers, a slide on Rambla Pacifico at Las Flores Canyon Road on April 1, left only one lane open for thru traffic to Piuma and Schueren roads. And several portions of Las Flores have been down to one lane since February.
Several residents came to Monday’s council meeting to air their concerns that nearby roads could collapse and the situation would be unsafe during the fire season.
To help compensate for the closure of Hume Road and nearby Briarbluff Drive, which has been closed from Azurelee Drive to Hume Road since late February due to continued land movement, the public works department has converted the existing one-way roads to allow two-way traffic.
“We’re also trying to realign Briarbluff to reconnect to Hume, but we’re not sure if we’ll be able to do it just yet,” Pellman said. “We might be able to do it with existing land that we own, or we might have to move a little bit further, reconnecting it east of where it connects right now.”
There is no estimated time or cost for the completion of the repairs to Hume Road.
“We need to make sure the roads are stabilized,” Pellman said. “Sometimes people don’t see it but there is continuing land movement. You don’t want it [land movement] coming into the road or moving out from underneath the road and taking away any support.”
Another slide area the public works department is monitoring that is causing some problems is on Kanan Dume Road.
“There has been a slow moving slide, very slow, coming down toward the road,” Pellman said, “but it’s going underneath the road and it’s hitting something there, possibly bedrock, and pushing up from underneath the road, causing it to bump up.”
Public works has restriped the road in this area, converting a passing lane to a travel lane, to enable two-way traffic.
“The road is not facing anything like [sliding into the canyon],” Pellman said. “There’s a big bump that ruptures the road and we have to go out there and do some more work to that.”
While the Kanan slide is being monitored and the work on the recent landslide on Hume Road is just beginning, Caltrans is nearing completion of its efforts to repair slide damage to Pacific Coast Highway, between Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Coastline Drive, which occurred in late February.
The first phase of the operation to remove earth from the cliff has been completed. The second phase of the project, stabilization of the hillside, which includes the installation of the mesh netting, is currently underway and is expected to be completed by the end of April. After the mesh has been installed, Caltrans will “hydro-seed” the hillside. The ground cover will help stabilize the hill.
According to a news release dated March 30, ” … up to 29 disposal trucks have been in use, hauling more than 220 loads [of soil] a day,” from the site.
The removed soil is “being taken to a dump site in Camarillo,” said Caltrans spokesperson Judy Gish.
In addition to the project on Pacific Coast Highway, Caltrans is also responsible for the repairs being made to Topanga Canyon Boulevard, between Pacific Coast Highway and Grandview Drive, which received heavy damage from the winter storms, resulting in the closure of one lane. The road is still open for two-way traffic from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.
While the cost of repairs were unavailable for the Pacific Coast Highway repairs, Gish said, “the cost of the [Topanga project] is $1.2 million.” According to the news release, the Topanga project involves construction of a 180-foot long retaining wall and rebuilding of the roadway. Gish said Caltrans hopes to be completed with the project by mid-May. But until then motorists are advised to expect delays.
Malibu Canyon is open, although traffic is down to one lane at 4240 Las Virgenes Road due to a landslide. Work began March 29. More information about traffic in that area can be obtained at www.cityofcalabasas.com. A complete list of road closures or delays can be obtained at the following Web sites: Caltrans at www.dot.ca.gov, www.caltrans.gov; LADPW at www.ladpw.org, and the City of Malibu at www.ci.malibu.ca.us.