Giant retaining walls going up along Sunset Boulevard’s crumbling slopes | Archives
BY BARRY LANK
The plans to build towering retaining walls along Sunset Boulevard on the border between Echo Park and Silver Lake are becoming more concrete – in the truest sense of the word.
The city is building the concrete walls, roughly 200 feet long, along the sunset between Coronado Terrace and Waterloo Street to stabilize sandstone slopes that have been a problem for more than a hundred years.
“The project will stabilize the slope by building a
Soil nail retaining wall
“Said Mary Nemick of the city’s Bureau of Engineering, referring to a technique that involves inserting thin reinforcement elements – such as rebars – into a slope to keep it stable.
“The wall is an architecturally designed shotcrete wall with alternating hatching and vine pockets on top.” “Shotcrete” is concrete that is sprayed from a hose.
Estimated Construction Cost: $ 1,744,366.
All of this is necessary because in the late 1880s a grading contractor named EC Burlingame did a really crappy job cutting a canal through the hills. He made the cuts very steeply – a technique that, according to the American Railway Engineers Handbook of 1901, only “works in hard rock that does not dissolve through exposure”.
Sandstone doesn’t exactly qualify. Since then, the slopes have regularly collapsed and partially collapsed – especially after heavy or less heavy rainfall.
The new walls will be about 35 feet high, Nemick said. The work is currently in progress and should be completed by July 2019.
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