The top guns at Caltrans remain optimistic that they will re-open Pacific Coast Highway to four lanes of traffic by Nov. 12 and have Malibu moving once again. Caltrans crews are working to complete a buttress and drainage system on the eastern half of the Las Flores slide. The 55-foot-high, 200-foot-long dirt-and-asphalt buttress is being used to prevent further failure along the hillside.
Construction workers are also in the process of building a 250-foot-long retaining wall at the top of the slide, while haulers continue to clear dirt and debris at the bottom. Caltrans spokeswoman Margie Tiritilli says 218,000 cubic yards of material have been removed from the area, but another 110,000 remain to be moved.
The $20 million slide project has kept traffic down to a single lane in each direction between Big Rock and Las Fores Canyon Road since June 19 when a landslide closed PCH. Congestion has been the biggest headache for Malibu residents, workers and visitors, especially during peak drive times when crawling past the iron curtain of cargo containers can take up to an hour. Some southbound motorists have tried to “cheat” the line by cutting through closed streets along Rambla Vista. But after residents complained to the City Council, sheriff’s deputies stepped in and made their presence known. Those who try to cut across can find themselves greeted by a patrol car and a potential fine.