El Niño ravaged Pacifica seawall to undergo repairs

The city of Pacifica will begin repairing its damaged seawall and promenade on Beach Boulevard, near the Pacifica Municipal Pier, later this month, city officials said Thursday.

At its Monday meeting, the City Council approved the repairs and appropriated funds for the project, estimated at $450,000, according to city officials.

The emergency repairs are needed to stabilize parts of the seawall that have been compromised after a series of El Niño storms last month caused it to fail, resulting in damage to the above promenade.

Repairs to the seawall and promenade are set to begin within two weeks.

“The seawall continues to deteriorate and action to stabilize the damage needed to be taken quickly,” City Manager Lorie Tinfow said. “The City Council recognized the need to act fast to protect to only the seawall and promenade but also the city street and the adjacent homes.”

The city’s Department of Public Works hired engineering and planning firm Moffat & Nichol to develop a structurally engineered repair solution that could be bid out to a highly qualified contractor with extensive experience in coastal environment construction, according to city officials.

Engineers with the firm then presented their design concept at Monday’s City Council meeting.

“The work that will be done is just to stabilize the area and will not fully restore it to its pre-disaster condition,” Public Works Director Van Ocampo said.

“The cost to reconstruct the wall and promenade to its pre-storm condition is estimated at $2 million. The city has requested grant funds from the state of California and we are hoping all of the work qualifies for grant funds,” Ocampo said.

On Jan. 17, high tide and swells combined with strong waves caused the seawall at Beach Boulevard and Santa Maria Avenue to fail, resulting in a sinkhole on the promenade.

On Jan. 22, another storm system hit the coastline, causing the seawall cap and handrail to collapse, damaging the promenade even further.

Then On Feb. 4, a second sinkhole was located at Beach Boulevard and Paloma Avenue.

A third, smaller hole in the seawall was also discovered on Monday, city officials said.

El Niño storms have been blamed for damaging much of the Pacifica Pier, the Milagra Watershed Outfall and the seawall along Beach Boulevard.

Late last month, the City Council confirmed a state of local emergency due to damage sustained by the city infrastructure.

The city also evacuated three nearby apartment buildings, located at 310, 320 and 330 Esplanade Ave.

All three have been declared as uninhabitable because of eroding cliffs along Esplanade Avenue and at least two of the buildings will need to be demolished, according to city officials.

The seawall along Beach Boulevard, north of the Pacifica Pier, was constructed in 1984, using system of 5-foot by 7-inch thick concrete tiles that interlock, similar to puzzle pieces. The tiles sit on a shallow concrete leveling course and are held back to the land’s edge through a system of metal straps, city officials said.