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Published December 14th, 2016
Landslide Pushes Rheem Closure into Late January
A landslide is slowing work at Bellavista. Photo Andy Scheck

As Moraga Public Works Director Edric Kwan puts it, Moraga and Orinda are known in the region for their active earth movements that can become quite disruptive to construction projects.
That is what happened in the Bellavista development (formerly known as Rancho Laguna II), the site that borders Rheem Boulevard between St. Mary's Road and Moraga Road: a landslide was activated close enough to a home site that repairs on the boulevard had to be interrupted to free resources to mediate the slide. As a result, that portion of the roadway that was supposed to reopen at the beginning of December will stay closed until January, if the weather cooperates.
Kwan says that the Bellavista site contains a significant number of old landslides, most of them in open spaces that will not be built on by developer SummerHill Homes. The project proposes 27 homes, 10 along Rheem Boulevard and the 17 others up the hill. The slide that got activated recently was located behind lot 11, which is located along Rheem Boulevard. Kwan said that when the project was adopted, the city and developer were aware of the existence of the dormant landslide that was recently activated behind lot 11.
"It would have been a burden on the Bellavista Home Owner Association if the landslide had activated after the homes were built and sold," Kwan said, who adds that in that regard, he is very satisfied that it happened now and is being fixed by the developer. He confirms that the other slides on the 179-acre property are located in open space, away from the new proposed homes.
Since it was part of SummerHill conditions of approval to repair Rheem Boulevard, it was that company's resources that were onsite and were shifted from the road repair to address the slide. The town staff added in a written communication that "the ground, as would be expected, is now quite wet, and the contractor's efforts to keep the roadway area dry by covering the entire roadway with plastic sheeting was of limited success. The project requires a forecast for dry weather for at least five
consecutive days in order for state and federal environmental regulatory agencies to allow the developer to work on the project."
The date to reopen the boulevard on Jan. 20 includes 15 days of delay, but will be pushed further into January if continuous rain delays the repairs further.

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