Rain delays Santa Cruz roads from opening

June 2, 2011 12:33:02 AM PDT
In the Santa Cruz Mountains, this late-season rain is causing problems for road crews. They had hoped to have roads cleared and hillsides stabilized by now.

There are still three roads in the county that are shut down because of mud slides. They have been that way since March. Crews hoped to have part of one open this week, but that's not going to happen because of the rain.

Water is still pouring out of the hillsides. The heavy rains in March caused a hill to slide and two months later, Highland Way is still closed and the soil is still saturated. Crews had hoped to have at least one lane open by Friday.

"This rainy weekend and the coming weekend with all the rain, its delayed that project and the contractor needs to have some dry time to actually clean up the mess," said Santa Cruz County Public Works director John Presleigh.

The project is on hold at least one week. That means a major corridor connecting residents in Corralitos and other parts of the county to Highway 17, San Jose, and Silicon Valley, will remain closed. Stacey Barclay lives off Highland Way. She used to have a straight shot to work.

"Now, I'm going all the way around. I'm going down Eureka Canyon to Highway 1 to Freedom Blvd and then Highway 1 and then back up to Summit," said Barclay.

It takes nearly an hour, but the closure poses another problem.

"The hazard is that we had two summers in a row major fires in this area and this is an evacuation route," said Santa Cruz County resident Art Hunt.

Those who live off Nelson Road in Scotts Valley know what it's like to be isolated. In March, a rock slide cut off access to them. Even though a bypass is now in place, the rain is stopping geologists from figuring out what to do with all of these rocks.

"They wanted everything to dry out there so there was less chance of hurting the people who are doing the sampling," said Nelson Road resident Dan Norman.

Geologists don't think the rocks will slide with even more rain, but they also don't want to take any chances since they'll actually be on top of the slide. They will however take a look at things July 1.


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