Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Slow Landslide

Residents have to walk around the slide to get home.
When I think of a "landslide," I imagine a wall of rocks and mud and/or dirt crushing all before it, posing an immediate threat to life and property. Some residents in Santa Cruz County are suffering through a landslide that moves a foot a week.
County officials first became aware of cracks appearing on a portion of Mountain Charlie Road just south of Lexington Reservoir on Feb. 26. The slide, which officials say is currently still moving at a rate of at least one foot per week, has rendered a portion of the road inaccessible to cars and barely accessible on foot, and almost completely decimated a private driveway just off the road that leads to five houses.

Residents of the five houses currently have tenuous access to water, internet and propane, and were forced to carve out a trail down a steep hill to walk by foot onto Mountain Charlie Road since the driveway is completely inaccessible by car and by foot. For residents living south of the landslide, the portion of Mountain Charlie Road that was affected by the landslide remains temporarily accessible on foot, but ongoing movement with the slide and intermittent rain may change that in the near future.

With fire season approaching, residents are also worried that the landslide could block emergency vehicles from accessing their homes in the event of a fire or other emergency...

But since the slide is moving every day, it will soon be inaccessible by foot, and all residents will be forced to drive several miles to Scotts Valley to safely get onto Highway 17, making a 15- to 30-minute commute now one to two hours. And with the onset of warmer weather and a corresponding increase in traffic from beachgoers using Highway 17, they’re worried that these already long commutes could double or even triple in length.
After the slide slows to 3-6 inches a week, repairs to the road will take one to three years. The effect of this slow-moving slide is reminiscent of the mudslide that sorely inconvenienced thousands in 2017.

Despite wildfires, earthquakes, and other natural (and human-caused) disasters, there are still millions of us Californians who would not live anywhere else. Go figure.

No comments: