Street caves in on West Muirlands in La Jolla

A city crew member awaits a repair crew near a hole on West Muirlands Drive on June 2.  Photo: Kathy Day
A city crew member awaits a repair crew near a hole on West Muirlands Drive on June 2. Photo: Kathy Day

By Friday morning, steel plates covered the damaged street. Photo: Dave Schwab

By Kathy Day

Staff Writer

Adelle Owen said Thursday night that she wasn't surprised when the street in front of her neighbor's house at 1110 West Muirlands Drive caved in Thursday afternoon.

In fact, she said, as she watched cars speed by while a city worker and an employee of a company brought in to cover the hole directed traffic, neighbors have been waiting for it to happen.

Several months ago the reported to the city that cars were hitting the growing dip at an increasing rate. When crews came out to inspect, they put a camera below the surface to see what was going on and found a sewer line to the west was collapsing.

Neighbors, concerned about speed along the street that has become a short-cut from Faye Avenue to Nautilus for local traffic as well as large construction trucks, met about a week ago, Owen said. They are trying to figure out how to get the city's attention about problems along the street near Muirlands Middle School.

About a month and a half ago after they made the initial call about the developing dip in front of her house, city workers patched the spot and told residents they'd be back as soon as they could to fix the pipe, she said.

That wasn't soon enough.

At 11:45 a.m. Thursday morning, she said, a parking control officer was coming down the street and called the growing dip in. They both watched as a woman drover her Prius over the spot and saw it drag its undercarriage, leaving marks in the pavement.

Within 15 minutes, the spot had sunk another 5 inches, Owen said.

Three police cars came and coned off the area, directing traffic into two narrow lanes.

At 3:37 the city's stormwater department's emergency department got a call and sent a supervisor out to standby until contracted workers could fix the problem. He was still there at 7 p.m.

Owen said she has photos documenting the cave-in, which broke through sometime after 5 p.m.

The lone worker sent with a crane and steel plates to cover the hole said once he put the plates down, the bulging piece of the street would flatten out.

Owen was skeptical, but by Friday morning large steel plates and asphalt had sealed up the spot.



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