Environment & Science

San Pedro landslide worsens; Chunks of bluffs fall into ocean

Workmen are shown at the site of a slow-moving landslide on Paseo del Mar in San Pedro.
Workmen are shown at the site of a slow-moving landslide on Paseo del Mar in San Pedro.
Nick Ut/AP

Large pieces of San Pedro bluffs are falling into the Pacific Ocean as a slow-moving landslide begins to worsen in the Southern California port town.

The Los Angeles Times reports Monday that city officials are fencing off the area and boosting police patrols in the area to prevent curious onlookers from getting injured in the hazardously unstable area along Paseo Del Mar road.

In a report, city officials called the landslide "an immediate and life- threatening hazard'' to those who enter the area.

Despite warnings, local residents have been found in the construction site after sneaking into the restricted area, the Times reported.

“I don’t think everybody understands how dangerous it is in here,” Hector Bordas, area engineer for the L.A. County Department of Public Works, told the Times.

Fissures first appeared last spring, and engineers have been monitoring the area for potential landslide risk for several months.

Crews are working to reroute vulnerable infrastructure —— storm drains, sewer and water lines — from underneath the sinking roadway.

The cause of the sinkhole remains under investigation. The city plans to commission a geological study to determine the extent of the bluff failure, identify weak and susceptible rock and test the stability of surrounding land, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's office said.

There is no current threat to homes but the disintegrating coastline has led to massive street crevices.

KTLA reports that beach access has been restricted due to fears of a complete landslide.

San Pedro has a history of landslides. In 1999, the 18th hole of the Ocean Trail Golf Course slid into the ocean during construction. In December 2009, a piece of the cliff broke off from West Paseo del Mar and in July 2010, part of the Sunken City cliff area fell into the ocean.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.