A major hillside collapse in La Jolla, Calif., caused massive damage to the overlying four-lane road and forced evacuations in a residential neighborhood Wednesday, as San Diego city officials scrambled to determine the extent of the damage.
One home was destroyed and at least eight others were in danger as the collapse buckled and folded a 50-yard span of asphalt, leaving deep trenches in the road. Rescue crews were evacuating residents and power and gas lines had been shut off in the area. No injuries were reported.
The collapse occurred shortly before 9 a.m., leaving a ravine of crumpled pavement. Orange traffic cones and sections of big concrete pipes sat in the fissure slashing across the wide boulevard.
"We're still gathering data," Robert Hawk, senior engineering geologist for San Diego's Engineering and Capital Projects Department told XETV. "It's basically a large block of a hillside that's moving."
The sinkhole in the La Jolla neighborhood of million-dollar homes cut in a cone shape and was about 50 yards long.
"This area has had some slide problems dating back a number of years," said Maurice Luque, a spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. "The problems are not new to this area."
About two hours about two hours after the collapse the situation appeared stable, said City Attorney Michael Aguirre.
"It doesn't appear to be any additional cracking at least at this point. This is a dynamic situation so we're not able to say for certain that it won't become more of a problem," Aguirre said.
A firm hired by the city last month was in the area Monday after a large section of slope on Mount Soledad began to slip, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
City officials said Monday they were moving quickly to prevent catastrophic loss. They sent letters two weeks ago to alert residents and began knocking on doors Monday.
Street cracking began on Soledad Mountain Road in July and escalated in August, along with breaks in water and gas lines, the newspaper said.
At least three significant hill slides have occurred in the general vicinity between 1961 and 1994, including a major failure in 1961 that destroyed seven homes under construction.
FOX 6, XETV and the Associated Press contributed to this report.