The San Francisco Department of Public Works has issued a declaration of emergency to protect a bluff along the Great Highway just south of Sloat Boulevard.

Department of Public Works officials made the declaration Friday to protect the roadway and the Lake Merced Wastewater Tunnel. Such a declaration allows the department to hire contractors and purchase materials for immediate mitigation measures, which are expected to start in the next few weeks.

The department has already realigned the southbound lanes of the highway south of Sloat Boulevard away from the cliff.

It also has hired firms to assess options after recent storm surges caused more than 30 feet of the bluff to fall, eroding the hillside close to the southbound lanes of the Great Highway.

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