Much has been reported over the years regarding the sinking Millennium Tower in San Francisco, but now new reports are emerging regarding sinking sidewalks in the Mission Bay neighborhood and images from space demonstrating that the entire Downtown San Francisco area may also be sinking.
According to CBS SF BayArea, some sidewalks in Mission Bay have sunk “as much as a foot and more in some spots.” The neighborhood is built upon a landfill, which requires the buildings to be anchored to bedrock—the streets and sidewalks, however, are the property owners’ responsibility. Engineers for the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay “took a proactive approach.” CBS SF BayArea alleges, however, that many surrounding condo developers did not.
SFGate reported that the sidewalk issue may be difficult to solve “as any fixes to the surface only serve to increase the weight of the pavement, speeding its descent into the landfill.”
It may not just be sidewalks and streets that are sinking. U.S Geological Survey research geophysicist Tom Parsons “says earth-based and space-based observations confirm the entire downtown area around it is sinking as well.” According to the NBC Bay Area story, Parsons “estimated settlement of three inches across the entire Bay Area.”
The Millennium Tower weighs an estimated 686 million pounds, making it the third heaviest building in San Francisco. However, it is the only one that’s significantly leaning.
San Francisco building officials told NBC Bay Area that there are plans in place “to shore up the seawall that protects the Embarcadero.”