Storm-related road closures plague Santa Cruz Mountains, inconvenience drivers

SOQUEL, Calif. (KGO) -- Getting around the Santa Cruz Mountains is getting more difficult by the minute. Another alternate route to Highway 17 is closed Monday night because of a new sinkhole.

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There's a lot of frustration in the mountains, even anger. Drivers are getting turned around or are making the dangerous choice to ignore closures.

"It's sinking, and it's not a good situation for us right now," said Santa Cruz County Public Works Director John Presleigh.

A new sinkhole has been created by a historic landslide on Soquel San Jose Road, which is now closed. The signs aren't enough to stop some drivers as the road is a primary alternative to Highway 17.

"It's a major crisis to have that road closed along with 17 down to two lanes and along with Bear Creek," Presleigh told ABC7 News. "We are definitely suffering this year."

Public works officials say there is no immediate plan to reopen the road.

"We are asking for forgiveness up front," said Presleigh. "Because we need it."

Caltrans doesn't know when Highway 35 will reopen either. It's closed because of a massive washout. Drivers are using Black Road to get around it. People who live there say the road can't handle it.

"You combine that extra traffic with the road where there are some major cracks and we're very concerned," said driver Vicky Perkins.

Highway 17 is at the heart of the problem. A mudslide near Vine Hill Road has closed the Northbound lanes. Repairs are on hold following the death of a worker last week.

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