Windansea storm drain repair scheduled to begin Sept. 11

Some residents say barricades around a site awaiting construction near Windansea Beach create a hazard for pedestrians.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

The failed drain and bluff along Neptune Place have led to local concerns about the barricades placed around the site.


Work on a failed storm drain and bluff in La Jolla’s Windansea Beach area is scheduled to begin next week, with crews expected to be in the 6900 block of Neptune Place staging and prepping the site starting Monday, Sept. 11.

City of San Diego spokesman Tyler Becker said construction will get started the following week and that work is expected to continue into early 2024.

For the record:

3:30 p.m. Sept. 12, 2023This article was updated to correct the number of stormwater inlets to be replaced.

City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, said at the Sept. 7 La Jolla Community Planning Association meeting that door hangers with more information had been distributed to residents of the area.

Neptune Place will be closed to through traffic between Westbourne and Nautilus streets from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

According to the city, the repair project requires an emergency coastal development permit to replace a stormwater inlet, 39 feet of 18-inch storm drain pipe, 30 feet of curb and gutter and 15 feet of wooden bluff fence, plus a new 20-foot-long, 6-foot-tall concrete retaining wall, bluff backfill and sidewalk repair.

The storm drain failure caused the sidewalk to collapse, so the city has had cones, fencing, K-rails and signs posted around the site since the spring.

Neptune Place was the site of a storm drain failure this spring.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

“It’s a pretty invasive repair, given the steep slope that the storm drain relies on and the equipment they can use, but the city and the contractors are very motivated to get this thing done before the next winter rains show up,” LaCava said.

“That storm drain could not have [failed] at a worse time. I know there were a lot of conversations about what to do with Neptune Place [and whether it could be improved] … and while we were having those conversations, the storm drain blows out. So we had to take care of that now.”

In May, Suzanne Baracchini, co-founder of the Preserve Windansea Beach Association and a board member of the Community Planning Association, told the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board that the closure is hindering public access on Neptune Place.

Though the street is open for two-way traffic, street parking allowed on the east side of the block “essentially makes that road a one-lane road,” she said, and with the barricades around the failed bluff, “people have to walk into oncoming traffic to go from one section of the sidewalk to the other.”

Baracchini called for a temporary no-parking zone on the east side of Neptune so pedestrians would have more space walking in the street, but she said the city denied the request.

In June, the La Jolla Parks & Beaches board voted unanimously to support the concept of a pedestrian boardwalk at Windansea Beach as a way to improve pedestrian safety around the site and decided to form a working group to refine the idea. ◆


1:49 p.m. Sept. 8, 2023: This article was updated with new information and comments.