PIEDMONT -- City officials continue to work with a property owner and geotechnical engineer to determine the cause of an April 18 landslide that blocked Moraga Avenue for nine hours.

While the landslide was relatively minor, it caused trees to fall and arc onto power lines at the intersection of Maxwelton Road and Moraga Avenue. PG&E spokeswoman Tamar Sarkisian said 482 customers were without power until 12:30 p.m. that day. The landslide occurred about 11 a.m.

"Power was restored to all but 89 customers (and) by 5 p.m. power was restored to all customers," she said.

PG&E brought in their tree contractor to remove the trees so power lines could be repaired. City and contractor crews worked until 7:45 p.m. to clear the roadway of soil and debris, Piedmont City Clerk John Tulloch said.

The landslide occurred off the steep hilly property at 5 Maxwelton Road. Tulloch said the homeowner is cooperating with city officials to determine the cause of the landslide.

Piedmont police manned traffic barricades for the first two hours, "then the city hired a traffic control company to finish diverting traffic and maintain the road closure until the area was cleared," Tulloch said.

Costs to Piedmont for their overtime work crews, traffic control, and hiring of a geotechnical consultant are being determined.

"The bills are not in yet," Tulloch said.

A more severe landslide occurred almost two years to the day -- on April 13, 2012 -- from the property next door at 3 Maxwelton Road. That incident closed Moraga Avenue for 35 hours and cost the city about $57,000.


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Attempts to resolve the city's costs with that property owner and his insurance company failed. The city filed suit seeking damages in Alameda County Superior Court on April 18, 2013. The lawsuit was settled for $40,000 on Feb. 6, 2014.

Tulloch said the new Code Red emergency notification system worked well to notify residents by text and emails of the road closure.

"We sent out three separate notices via Code Red, about 2,500 emails," he said.

"We are still investigating and watching the area closely," Tulloch added.

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