“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.
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.