Santa Cruz neighborhood struggling after road access still blocked from major landslide

Dustin Dorsey Image
Saturday, March 16, 2024
Santa Cruz neighborhood struggling after landslide blocks road access
A Santa Cruz Mountains neighborhood is struggling to deal with the aftereffects of a major landslide that happened two weeks ago.

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KGO) -- It's been two weeks since a major landslide in the Santa Cruz Mountains impacted access to and from Mountain Charlie Road.

The slide is still a problem and utilities are at risk with every passing day.

But neighbors say the worst part is that there's no fix in sight.

"How difficult has this been to not have an accessible road in your neighborhood?" ABC7 News South Bay Reporter Dustin Dorsey asked.

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"It's been horrible," resident Debbie Robinson said.

A large landslide destroyed the road just a few miles from Highway 17.

The slide sits at the base of Don Ferris' and Amanda Watson's homes.

"Both of our cars are on the other side of the slide," Ferris said. "We've already had a couple vehicles get stuck trying to make it up there."

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"We have to walk a good quarter mile carrying dog food and groceries," Watson said.

For the rest of the neighborhood, internet and water lines are threatened by the slide and propane is in limited supply.

Driving anywhere is nearly impossible. There's only one way in and one way out.

"I mean, we had to evacuate back in 2020, and it can be a little chaotic when everyone is trying to evacuate and this road is so tiny and narrow," Robinson said. "And we're all fearful that emergency vehicles wouldn't be able to make it up here. We might get stuck and not able to make it out and perish."

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Fire season is just a few months away and the road may not be fixed by then.

Santa Cruz County Officials say there's no repair date in sight.

"We need to really wait for this landslide to stop," Santa Cruz Co. Dept. of Community Development and Infrastructure Spokesperson Tiffany Martinez said. "We need to make sure that there's no moisture that is continuously contributing to this landslide, which we've seen in recent days with all the rain that we have experienced. So, we are just closely monitoring the situation."

Even when repairs can be made, the county says they would need to look to state and federal emergency funds to help pay for it.

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Until then, the neighborhood remains essentially trapped and residents can't even fathom the road not getting fixed.

"We can handle anything short-term but long-term, it is our lifeline," Resident Emily Bieber said. "We need our road back."

The community is rallying together and they hope local leaders will do the same.

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