A huge stretch of coastal bluff road that collapsed in a heavy rainstorm Sunday is likely irreparable and a new route for the scenic roadway will have to be charted, officials said Monday.
Engineers and geologists on Monday were studying the site along Paseo del Mar in San Pedro, 20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, to determine how to stabilize the shifting ground, which has been slowly sliding into the ocean since earlier this year.
Officials closed the 900-foot stretch to pedestrians and vehicles several months ago after the asphalt buckled and fissures appeared and kept expanding. The ground was shifting at a rate of 4 inches per day.
Just last week, the city erected a chain link fence around the site to prevent the curious from accessing the area.
Sunday's pelting rain proved the final straw, resulting in a late afternoon landslide and a gaping hole in the landscape.
"The cliff's gone," said Bob Spencer, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works.
The landslide may not be fully finished as ground continues to shift and another bout of rain is forecast for later this week, he said.
There were no injuries or property damaged. The road is a scenic route where nearby residents walked their dogs and cycled atop cliffs rising 125 feet above the ocean. There are no homes located in the immediate slide area, which is just below a 102-acre hillside nature preserve on what was once a coastal artillery and missile defense site.
The city plans to hire a geotechnical firm to study the initial cause of the slide, but it will take several months to complete, said Peter Sanders, spokesman for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
The master plan for the White Point Nature Preserve cited a 1974 geology consultant's report of potential instability in the area.
Located on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, the bluffs offer panoramic ocean vistas and have attracted steady residential development over the decades. Some experts say the building has exacerbated the instability of the landslide-prone area.