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Boulders placed on West Cliff Drive for emergency stabilization

SANTA CRUZ, Calif., (KION-TV)- The winter storms caused major damage to parts of West Cliff Drive. The City of Santa Cruz added 200 tons of boulders and fabric material to protect the exposed cliff.

The City told KION it’s doing this until it can find a permanent solution. 

On Wednesday, many people came out to check out the extent of the damage. Some people said they've never seen it get this bad. 

“Makes you reflect on where we put our dwellings, our buildings, and our spaces in regards to the natural world,” said Suzanne Silverglate of Santa Cruz. 

Jill Troderman and Silverglate were out for a walk on West Cliff Drive to enjoy the weather. For Troderman, it's the first time she sees the damage. 

“Shock cause it's so dramatic to see the damage that occurred,” said Troderman. “It just makes you feel really humbled about being a human and how powerful mother nature is.” 

Both have lived in Santa Cruz County for years and have walked along West Cliff Drive many times

Senior Civil Engineer Joshua Spangrud with the city explained how 200-ton boulders and filter fabric would help protect the cliff.

“Instead of the waves having an open course to slam into that side of the bluff with that erodible fill, that will attenuate some of the wave energy,” said Spangrud. “With the filter fabric on the face of the bluff, the hope is that it further attenuates whatever wave energy comes in there.”

The city also set up these barriers, so people don't get too close. 

Like changes in the state's climate, the coastline is changing. To combat the new challenges, the Resilient Coast Santa Cruz Initiative was formed, focusing on West Cliff Drive's future.

“Any future use of the road is predicated on the fact that the road is still there,” said Spangrud. “Whatever policy decisions that happen, we have to fix the damages that occurred.”

“For a long, long time, the residents really want to see this more of a green space,” said Silverglate. “We would like to see it have less traffic here, maybe make this into a one-way.”

Just west of Woodrow avenue, there is a 1000-year-old drainage that also suffered damage. That area is closed to traffic indefinitely until crews can repair it.  

Public Works said the three areas with huge erosion had already lost parts of their coastal armor. Public works added plans were already in place to repair those spots. 

To check out the repair process, click here.

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Ana Torrea

Weekend Anchor/Reporter for KION News Channel 5/46

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