Inside Seven
Current Issue: September 2014
A rare look underneath PCH at the sinkhole that eroded the roadway.

by  Judy Gish
Issue Date: 01/2007

A water main break on PCH creates a huge sinkhole, disrupting traffic and services in Malibu.

Motorists on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) near Big Rock in Malibu and nearby residents received an unwelcome surprise on December 2, when a water main and several water pipes under the road broke, causing the road to fail and cutting off the local water supply.

PCH was reduced to one lane in each direction while the Los Angeles Department of Public Works labored around the clock to repair the water lines. Two lanes in each direction were re-opened on December 4, using the shoulder and median while road repairs were performed. After closing one lane southbound just south of Big Rock the weekend of December 8, repairs were completed and the lanes were restored to their pre-break configuration.

In addition to rebuilding the damaged road, the repairs also involved slope stabilization. A contractor engaged by Los Angeles County performed the work, which involved the placement of large boulders (rip-rap) on the cliff.

Special thanks to the West Region Maintenance Division, especially Area II Superintendent Marvin Pruitt, for a job well done.

A crane and loader are brought in to perform the repairs. Approximately 85 boulders were placed as part of the Los Angeles County slope stabilization project at the site of the water main break. The large boulders (rip-rap) that were placed at the site weigh approximately 4 tons each.