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PCH closed in Dana Point due to mudslides

October 22, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The threat of possible landslides has forced officials in Dana Point to close down a portion of the Pacific Coast Highway.The expected week-long closure will affect both directions of the highway between Palisades Drive and Camino Capistrano.

In Dana Point, spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean are to be expected, but when it rains, residents know to expect something else.

"When it rains a lot it just sort of happens, you know, beach erosions, and things like that. It's just one of the things you deal with when you live here," said resident Jasmine Ebargaray.

Early Thursday morning, rain-loosened soil spilled on to the Pacific Coast Highway, exposing the underside of one home's foundation.

"We're seeing evidence of instability on the slope from the bluff top here that has caused a small landslide, and it appears that there is a likelihood that we will have a bigger landslide," said Brad Fowler, Dana Point Director of Public Works.

Since the slide area is on private property, the city is working with the homeowners to stabilize the bluff top. The work could cost homeowners at least $500,000 to prevent the hill from sliding.

There have been some planting of vegetation, and rails were put up in the hopes of capturing any loose soil. But it may still not be enough to overcome erosion that is taking place.

"These cliffs have been eroding forever. I don't think it's a wise place to build houses," said resident Michael Yeisley.

As a precaution, the city has decided to close a mile-and-a-half of Pacific Coast Higway for five to seven days.

"We have to go around it. We have to go through the residential areas. It's faster and prettier going down PCH, but you do what you got to do," said Ebargaray.


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