Crews race to shore up crumbling Calif. cliff

AP News
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Posted: Dec 18, 2009 3:44 PM

Construction crews worked Friday to shore up a Northern California bluff where a seaside apartment building was at risk of sliding into the ocean.

The 12-unit building in Pacifica has been evacuated and now stands about 10 feet from the edge of the cliff.

Pacifica's chief building official, Doug Rider, said a crane will be used to position large boulders at the base of the bluff.

Recent storms saturated the cliff, hastening the erosion of its sandy soil. Large chunks of the cliff plunged into the ocean Thursday,

Two buildings nearby were being monitored but appeared to be holding steady.

A wave-deflecting barrier was built last spring below part of the bluff to protect the beach and the apartment buildings above. But the cliff began crumbling before it could be completed.

The building's owners have received an emergency permit to finish the work.

Ryder said residents could eventually return to the apartment building if the completed barrier stops the erosion.

Pacifica is about 10 miles south of San Francisco,