Today at Berkeley Lab

Unstable Hillside Affects Traffic, Shuttles, Building 46

Updated on 2/8/13


Consistent rain over the last few months has destabilized the hillside above McMillan Road between Buildings 17 and 71. The hillside continues to inch toward the road, which has been closed as a precaution. A potential landslide warrants the road closure and relocation of Building 46 occupants.

Remediation Efforts

The landslide is being monitored by a geotechnical engineer, a geologist, a surveyor, and personnel in Facilities and EHSS. Analysis of soil samples drawn in early January will determine whether the hillside will need shoring with concrete piers or other methods.

A dewatering pump has been installed and is removing water from the slide area and additional trenches are being dug to channel water toward the pump. A K-rail is being installed along the road to help divert any potential debris flow.

What’s Off Limits?

Building 46, as well as the road between Buildings 17 and 71 and the pedestrian walkways, not only alongside the road, but behind Building 46 and the physical fitness area above that.

Reopening of Roadway Walkways

Stabilizing the hillside could take a substantial amount of time. Subsequent rainfall could worsen the situation. TABL updates will keep the Lab community apprised of developments.

Rerouted Traffic

All vehicles, including construction trucks, are being rerouted via Lawrence Road. Be aware of the increased traffic load on this roadway. Drivers should proceed cautiously and pedestrians should use designated walkways at all times.

Building 46 Occupant Relocation

All occupants of Building 46 are being relocated on Friday, Jan. 11 because the structure lies in the projected debris path of the potential earth slide. Division leaders and department heads are helping find alternative work areas for their employees or are allowing them to telecommute. If your office is in Building 46, contact your group leader or supervisor for exact locations.” This relocation will remain in effect until recommendations to stabilize the side of the hill are implemented. For those with facilities in Building 46 that can’t be duplicated elsewhere, Lab leadership is working on solutions. If you have any questions about your workspace or equipment, contact the facility representatives helping on this effort: Kelley Toulouse at 495-8071 or Weyland Wong at 486-6045. EHSS ergonomists will perform ergonomic assessments of all relocated employees.

Shuttle Bus Stops

Lab Blue Line shuttles will stop at the intersection of McMillan and Lawrence Roads to accommodate passengers going to Buildings 46 and 71. The buses will then turn right on to Lawrence Road. Passengers going to the Advanced Light Source can use the Cafeteria stop. The shuttle will continue up Lawrence Road and along Glazer Road toward Building 76. Shuttles will drop off passengers at the corner of Building 26 and “S” Road. All other stops will remain unchanged. Go here for a map of the Lab.


Check here for updates and announcements related to the progress of the hillside shoring, when the road and pedestrian walkways will reopen, and the scheduled reopening of Building 46.

Go here to read a letter Director Alivisatos sent to Building 46 occupants on Jan. 4.