Landslide site repairs on schedule
October will mark the one-year anniversary of the Mount Soledad landslide, and reconstruction efforts to reopen the road are so far on schedule.
Senior Civil Engineer Jamal Batta said that although the construction has been expedited to enable the road to reopen as soon as possible, care is being taken to see that the building is done correctly and will be long-lasting.
“We feel for the homeowners, (and) we are expediting the work as much as we can,” said Batta, who also said that crews are sympathetic to those who must take alternative routes to their homes during the rebuilding.
The construction and installation of shear pins have been completed between 5695 and 5735 Soledad Mountain Road, which is within the area of the landslide. Shear pins are 84 feet long and 54 inches in diameter, and a hole is drilled deep into the ground in order to install them. Construction of a concrete retaining wall between the shear pins has begun, which will serve to keep dirt out of the area. Once that is complete, a road will be paved over the shear pins to connect it back to the road unaffected by the landslide. The shear pins will then remain hidden beneath the paved road.
“We’re literally pinning the road to the mountain,” said Patti Boekamp, director of engineering for the city’s Capital Projects Department. Boekamp said that one of the main challenges of this project has been trying to rebuild quickly while at the same time ensuring the construction will be long-lasting and safe.
“We had to figure out what to do while we were doing things,” she said, also noting that the crews were doing their best to be a good neighbor to the surrounding residents.
This month will see the start of the reconstruction of utilities such as sewage and water pipelines in the landslide area. Along Soledad Mountain Road from Desert View to Palomino Circle, the sewer main and laterals will be constructed. This phase of construction will take 1 1/2 to two months to complete.
Batta said he does not know if the homes that were completely destroyed in the landslide will be rebuilt. However, the homes near the landslide that are currently yellow-tagged, meaning the residents can come and go, but they cannot live in their homes full-time because the utility lines were ripped out when the landslide occurred, will eventually be reconnected to the main utility lines, enabling the residents to once again live in their homes.
Batta said the construction has since gone according to plan so far and he foresees it being complete and the road reopening in early October of this year.
“Our hope is to have the road open by then and to have cars moving on the road again,” said Batta.
According to Boekamp, although the primary construction will be finished in early October, there will still be work to be done in nearby alleys.
Boekamp said she is confident that the new construction will hold up in the near future, although there are no guarantees over the course of hundreds of years.
“We’re confident that we’re fixing it the way it needs to be fixed in this location,” she said.
During the construction period, on-street parking will not be allowed near the area and the landslide area will be closed due to possible earth movement. On Desert View Drive, security guards will be stopping all motorists and directing non-residents to a designated detour. San Diego Police will also periodically be on Desert View Drive using radar to detect those who are speeding. Soledad Mountain Road Updates are at www.sandiego.gov.
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