Pacifica Bluff Battle: Score One for Land Dwellers

By Jessica Greene
|  Monday, Jan 4, 2010  |  Updated 12:35 PM PDT
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Raw Video: Cliff Erosion Leads to Pacific Evacuations

NBC Bay Area

The building at 330 Esplande Avenue is too close for comfort to the Pacific Ocean.

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Raw Video: Cliff Erosion Leads to Pacific Evacuations

They lived on a beautiful ocean hillside until erosion made their homes no longer safe to occupy.
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Construction crews are holding a meeting to try to save an apartment building teetering on the edge of a Pacifica cliffside.

Engineers are trying to save the apartment building at 330 Esplande Ave. from falling into the ocean. Now, the cliff isn't the only thing crumbling into the ocean. The dirt road that workers created to truck boulders down to the base of the cliff is now also eroding.

A meeting on Monday will determine what's next for the building. The options now are: move the entire building off its foundation and away from the cliff; install a steel wall at the base of the cliff instead of stacking boulders to shore it up, as they have been doing in the past few weeks; or drill into the cliff side and install tie-backs that would act as horizontal piers to help keep the bluff from crumbling.

Another large chunk of the cliff fell into the ocean Saturday. Tony Fortunato, the lead engineer on the job to save the building, says the chunk that fell actually makes the job easier because the bluff is now smoother, making it a better base to stack the rocks.

People who lived in that apartment building were evacuated two weeks ago. If it crumbles into the ocean, buildings around it are also at risk because the electrical infrastructure runs beneath Esplande Avenue.

There's no price tag for the repairs because it's emergency work, Fortunato said.

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