City Will Attempt to Fix Asilomar Landslide

Holes will be dug on Asilomar and be filled with a cement mixture to help stabilize the landslide.

“Stopping a landslide from moving is an expensive proposition, and experts acknowledge that there is no stopping Mother Nature—but the City believes movement can be slowed significantly on Asilomar Boulevard.” That was the first sentence of a story that this editor wrote in 2015 story (“A Fix Underway for Asilomar?”).

Eight years later construction will begin.

Asilomar, between El Medio and Almar Avenues, is built on a hillside that has two landslides. One starts 90 feet below the surface, extends into the Pacific Ocean, and is considered inactive. The other, 35 feet down, is continually moving.

The City of Los Angeles installed inclinometers to measure ground movement on Asilomar in 2000. Five years later the movement of the hill had sheared off the top of one of the inclinometers. A year later a measurement showed that the ground had moved more than a foot vertically.

Below Asilomar, there used to be paved street, a continuation of Puerto Del Mar, but all that is left is a few pieces of cracked asphalt and a broken trail.

Puerto Del Mar used to run just below the fence on the Asilomar Bluffs. Land movement and rains made the road impassable and it was closed.

Part of the problem in trying to stabilize the hill below Asilomar is that it belongs to three entities, the City, and at the mid-point of the hill, land belongs to the Palisades Bowl and Tahitian Terrace. The two mobile home parks are under State of California jurisdiction.

Norm Kulla, who was Councilman Bill Rosendahl’s deputy director, worked tirelessly to find a fix to stop the road from going over the hill.

At a July 2015 meeting, residents were told that the City planned to use Deep-Soil Mixing (DSM). This method involves digging holes that are three feet wide, but do not remove the dirt. Rather, the soil is loosened and then concrete is added. The soil and concrete are mixed, creating a solid column. The process is then repeated along the area of the slide.

Richard Louie, who was then the project manager for the Department of Engineering, explained the choice.

“The DSM method provides some great benefits, including reducing the amount of export and import of soil required,” Louie said. “[This] is anticipated to be more environmentally friendly.

“Additionally, DSM will be completed within the ground, beneath Asilomar Boulevard and will create a minimal, if any, change to the existing appearance of the hillside,” Louie said.

At the most recent Pacific Palisades Community Council meeting, Michael Womack said the method approved in 2015, was going to be implemented starting this month.

The cost to taxpayers will be $6.6 million to drill down 90’ and place 360 pillars between an inch and six inches apart.

The holes, which will be 4 and half feet wide, will be filled with a cement mixture. This process will take about four months to complete. Once it is done the street and curbs will be redone.

The City expects the entire project to be done in late April, early May, but Womack said “It may be dependent on rain.”

About the drilling/filling process, “As we go, it [the hillside] should get stronger,” Womack said.

This was a rending sent to the Coastal Commission by the City in 2022.

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2 Responses to City Will Attempt to Fix Asilomar Landslide

  1. Gioia Frelinghuysen says:

    Thank you for this illuminating description about what is going on the Asilomar Bluff. The bluff has eroded quite a bit since we moved to the area 6 years ago. I am happy to see that the city is trying to address this issue.

  2. 'joy' says:

    Just some ancient Palisades history coloring my picture today. ‘Tween you, me and the proverbial lamp post, I doubt there is any hope for a true remediation of the hill between Temescal and Sunset.
    My first domicile in Pacific Palisades was on lower Las Casas (332), a few houses from the cliff and the Grenola loop. One evening, there was a lot of commotion with helicopters circling the area and really getting low. Many neighbors came out to see what the excitement was all about, sort of milling around trying to see something but there didn’t appear to be anything to see. Then, we saw the older couple who lived on the cliff, sort of wandering on their front lawn, looking stunned. We all soon found out that they had gone out to their back porch to see what the commotion was all about and they couldn’t find their 100+ foot back yard. It had vanished in the night. We all know it now as the detour on PCH, north of Temescal Canyon.
    It was a very long time ago, in the ’70’s- but, I suspect the movement on the cliffs and under the cliffs is irrevocable. There are 2 streams under the area and 2 (maybe 3) slide/slump movements above the Bowl and TT. The concrete will probably continue to move along with the Cliffs but, the good news is that it will hopefully slow down the inevitable. I hope so but, as I was told by someone who was closely involved with Tahitian Terrace, the utilities, etc., would continue to move and would often need help due to the movement. BTW, a house on Grenola DID go down the hill at one point. Sadly, one of our neighbors committed suicide by revving her car on Las Casas, hitting the gas at the loop and flying off that empty spot on Grenola. Her kids were at our pool at the time.
    When I told my USC friend, who was head of Geology, where I wanted to buy a place, he kind of laughed and said “Good luck. Anyone who buys there deserves what they’ll get.” So, I didn’t buy that place. Lucky me… That place (across from the old Jack in the Box) ended up red-tagged and a mess. I bought the house in TT 25 years ago and there is still a pipe in my back yard monitoring the status of the underground water. No one actually monitors it now but it’s still active.
    I cannot for the life of me, remember the name of the renowned Geology professor – I just called him ‘Doc’. But, I love the Palisades and am grateful every day that I came to stay.
    Cheers!

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