Slide limits access for West Morgan Hill community

An estimated 20 residents in the vicinity of Uvas County Park, west of Morgan Hill, are cut off from the rest of the world by a 200 foot long mudslide that has covered Croy Road in mud. (Photo courtesy of ABC7 reporter David Louie)
March 29, 2011 10:17:56 PM PDT
An estimated 20 residents in the vicinity of Uvas County Park, west of Morgan Hill, are cut off from the rest of the world by a 200 foot long mudslide that has covered Croy Road in mud.

The mud, described as difficult to negotiate as quicksand, is as high as three feet. Santa Clara County road crews are working on clearing the mud, but they first have had to cut and remove about 12 Redwood trees that slid with the mud and fell onto Croy Road. The slide occurred Sunday morning. A second slide occurred after dark last night when crews had suspended work for the day.

Area residents are concerned about the residents stranded beyond the slide. There is a small encampment there called Sveadal, run by the Swedish-American Patriotic League. A woman associated with the group said Sveadal consists of cabins. There are also private homes.

Kathie Costello-Schmitt, who lives just east of the slide and is not trapped, said she is concerned that some residents might be running out of diesel and propane, which they need to pump water from wells with the power out on the other side.

Carl Taylor, a member of the Uvas Volunteer Fire Brigade, confirmed that his son who is trapped, is running out of fuel. There is a rugged ridgetop fire trail residents could use to evacuate. However, Taylor says the conditions would probably damage vehicles. The four-mile length takes about an hour to traverse.

Walking across the mudslide is not an option. Road superintendent Mike Hurley said the mud is like quicksand. It is super-saturated from recent rains. It took him 40 minutes to walk the 200 feet across the slide to do a welfare check of trapped residents. Hurley said no one responded as he called out to anyone who could hear him.

Hurley said progress is slow, but he hopes his crew can create a path at the slide by tomorrow.

Crews first had to cut and remove the redwood trees before scooping up the mud. A single basket of mud on a front-loader weighs an estimated 1,800 pounds.


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