The City of Santa Monica’s Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration for the Santa Monica Palisades Bluff Improvement Project has “determined that the project would not have a significant impact on the environment provided that mitigation measures” are taken.
This proposed project consists of stabilization measures to stop the rate of deterioration of the bluffs, which has resulted in the recession of its rim that runs along Palisades Park. This recession, according to the study, is the consequence of natural causes, including “weathering, surface erosion during heavy rainstorms, localized slope failure caused by groundwater seepage, earthquake shaking and animal burrows.” The greatest deterioration is evident northwest of the California Avenue Incline, and slope failures have been “large enough for slide debris to cover several traffic lanes of Pacific Coast Highway.”
The project area will encompass 1.6 miles along PCH from the McClure Tunnel to the northwestern limit of the City.
Horizontal drains, surface treatment with chemical grouting, soil nailing and reinforced concrete anchor blocks are techniques that will be utilized. The City’s civil engineer for the project, Spiros Lazaris, told the Mirror there would be no “cutting through the bluffs itself or any disturbance to the park or vicinity around it.”
The most significant predicted environmental effects will be on area traffic and noise. The report recommends a Construction Traffic Management Plan to deal with the traffic impacts. For the noise, the report suggests restricting the hours of construction, and using diesel equipment mufflers and electrically powered tools.
To accomplish the project’s goals, the bluffs will be divided into 11 treatment zones so that the appropriate techniques can be applied. Lazaris anticipates that construction for the project will begin in December of this year and will be complete in approximately nine months, so it will not occur at the same time as the work on the California Incline.
The report states that a construction staging area would be located on the bluffs beneath the Montana Avenue stairway. Impacts from the construction will include “temporary lane closures along the PCH north of the California Incline, as well as on portions of the Incline itself in the right channel, northbound lane.” The lanes will be closed in stages of approximately 1,000 feet at a time, and closures will shift monthly as the work progresses.
In order for the project to move forward, approvals are necessary from the California Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, the California Coastal Commission, the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, The California Office of Historic Preservation and the California State Parks.
To obtain further information on the project, call City Civil Engineer Spiros Lazaris at 310.458.2283 or e-mail at email@example.com.