MALIBU (CBSLA) – A four-mile stretch of Topanga Canyon Boulevard in Malibu will remain shut down through at least Sunday night after yet another mudslide caused by heavy rainfall sent rocks and debris tumbling onto the roadway early Thursday morning.


The mudslide, reported at about 2:30 a.m. Thursday, forced the closure of Topanga Canyon Boulevard, also known as State Route 27, from Grand View Drive to the Pacific Coast Highway.

Several vehicles got trapped in the mud and two people had to be rescued from a Scion. There were no injuries. At its height Thursday, the roadway was covered with up to two feet of mud, along with large rocks and boulders from the hillside.

As of Friday morning, however, the mud had all been pushed to the side of the roadway. However the rocks and mud need to be cleared from the shoulder before the roadway can reopen.

Meanwhile, another storm system coming through overnight Friday could complicate matters.

This is the third mudslide in the past month in the burn area where a fire broke out in June of 2017.

Caltrans said Thursday’s mudslide occurred because the ground became so saturated that without root systems to hold the soil in place, mud, debris and ash slid down a slope and onto a half-mile stretch of Topanga Canyon.

Contributing to the slide was a drainage pipe that became clogged with mud and debris, sending the overflow onto the road.

Following the fire last June, Caltrans installed several hundred feet of K-rails to catch falling debris in the event of a slide. However, Thursday’s slide occurred outside the parameters of those K-rails.

Caltrans reported it will now look into extending the K-rails, along with more fencing, and installing larger drainage pipes. Until the weak hillside can heal and get its roots back in place, the threat of mudslides will exist every time it rains.

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