Failed storm drain in Windansea to be repaired starting next week

Elisabeth Frausto | September 7, 2023

After a months-long wait, city of San Diego crews will begin to repair a failed storm drain in Windansea in La Jolla.

The repairs will begin Monday, Sept.11, at 6933 Neptune Place between Westbourne and Nautilus streets, with the contractor spending the first week “staging and prepping the site,” said city spokesperson Tyler Becker. 

Construction will start the week of Sept. 18 and involve the closure of Neptune Place between Westbourne and Nautilus to vehicular traffic during working hours, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

“The project is expected to continue into early 2024,” Becker said.

The repairs will include replacing 39 feet of 18-inch diameter storm drain pipe, 30 feet of curb and gutter, 15 feet of wooden bluff barrier fence, a new 20-foot-long, 6-foot-tall concrete retaining wall abutting the east side of the existing end wall, and backfill to correct bluff and slope erosion.

“We’re thrilled,” said Suzanne Baracchini, La Jolla resident and founder of Preserve Windansea Beach Association

Baracchini first noticed the storm drain and bluff collapsed after the heavy winter rains.

“It was a little nerve-racking there for a while,” she said, as the failure created safety hazards for beachgoers on the sidewalk above the bluffs.

The erecting of fencing around the sidewalk created further dangers, she said, as pedestrians were walking into traffic on Neptune to skirt the fence.

“A storm drain blowout is never a good thing,” said Joe LaCava, San Diego City Councilmember for District 1, which includes La Jolla.

The city’s plan for emergency repairs was paused for the summer construction moratorium, held between Memorial and Labor days.

LaCava pushed for the timing, he said, so as not to further impact the busy tourist area with construction machines. 

Nearby residents received door tags Sept. 5, Baracchini said, informing them of the coming construction and road closure.

Some parking spaces along the east side of Neptune Place will also be blocked for the duration of construction for storage of equipment, the tags indicate.

“We really want … this to be top of mind for the city,” Baracchini said. “This beach is a playground, not just for the locals [but for] tourists.” 

“The most important thing is safety first and then public access,” she said.

The repair is important, LaCava said, as the city is expecting another wet winter.

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