Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Parties play blame game over latest Pacifica cliff erosion

By Julia Scott
San Mateo County Times
Updated: 04/20/2010 09:56:32 AM PDT

PACIFICA — There was plenty of blame to go around Monday for what caused the concrete wall to peel away from the cliff behind 330 Esplanade Avenue like a piece of cardboard last week when the rain washed out the bluff behind it.

The company that installed the soil "nails" in late January — metal rods embedded in a spray-on layer of concrete over sandy soil — blamed the owner of 320 Esplanade for not extending the concrete cover onto that property, which let water in around the edges.

Layers of concrete were left in concave shards like a broken balloon made of papier-mâché, hanging over the ocean. Swales of sand, some more than a foot deep, were exposed underneath.

The engineer for 330 Esplanade, meanwhile, blamed the company, Engineered Soil Repairs, for installing a defective drainage system behind the evacuated building. The city of Pacifica inspected and approved the work when it was done, and city officials don't know whom to blame.

Losing the only solution put in place so far to hold the cliff together — aside from ocean boulders that have been placed at the base of the bluff — isn't the only problem. The bad news highlights the inability of the owners of the apartment buildings all along upper Esplanade Avenue to agree on a comprehensive engineering solution to stop the erosion that affects them all.


Posted by Steve Sinai

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