Southbound Highway 17 reopens, slide fears continue

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The Southbound lanes of Highway 17 opened up Friday in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The risk of dangerous, falling debris has caused problems there for weeks. (KGO-TV)

The Southbound lanes of Highway 17 opened up Friday in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The risk of dangerous, falling debris has caused problems there for weeks.

RELATED: Father of two identified as construction worker killed on Highway 17

Northbound lanes remain closed indefinitely. Rain exposed another problem on a major roadway not far away.

The earth opened up, swallowing a large chunk of Highway 35 after a washout near Las Cumbres Road in Santa Clara County.

Crews inspected the damage as Sky7 flew above.

The roadway is closed indefinitely in both directions until the county figures out how to fix it.

Engineers face a similar problem on Highway 17 in Santa Cruz County.

Caltrans shut down the busy highway in both directions near Vine Hill Road Friday morning, fearing another slide.

"There's so much saturated earth that's up top," said Sam Courtney of the Santa Cruz CHP. "They've been trying to remove it, remove it remove it--but the danger is if the top part comes down in a slide, it could go right into the Southbound lanes."

About eight miles of roadway remained closed through the day while geologists tracked the hill's movement with sensors.

They determined it was safe to continue work clearing the unstable hillside. It's a dangerous area where slides took out a truck earlier this week and hit an ABC7 News van last month.

RELATED: ABC7 News photographer describes terrifying landslide experience

"Each time we've Been very fortunate," Courtney said. "I mean there have been cars that have been hit, but the drivers have walked away."

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Related Topics:
weatherhighway 17CHPlandslidemudslidetraffictraffic delaytraffic accidentsevere weatherstormrainwindstorm damageMill Valley
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