Near FALL CITY, Wash. — Updated story: King County officials decided 356th Drive Southeast will remain open after assessing the area where a slow-moving landslide threatens the road.
The road is the only way out for dozens of people in a neighborhood near Fall City.
The last few days have been difficult for those living in the area, causing fear as a crack in the earth might grow and cut them off.
Friday, geotechnical engineers surveyed the land to determine if it was drivable, concluding only vehicles weighing no more than 5 tons or 10,000 lbs could use it.
“So, it’s good news in the sense that the road is going to be open. However, um, it is subject to change. If we had another big storm, we’re going to definitely have to make sure that we can keep the road open. And you know, we’re going to continue to make sure that folks are safe,” King County Road Services Director Rick Brater said.
Brater said they will monitor the conditions around the clock, and they are working to make sure residents have an escape route if the road becomes dangerous. They plan to have that all mapped out by Sunday.
In terms of a longterm fix, Brater said it could take three to four months.
Original story: Experts will decide if a failing road that’s the only way out for dozens of people in a neighborhood near Fall City will have to be shut down.
A slow-moving landslide in the area threatens to close 356th Drive Southeast, which was damaged from the land moving underneath.
One of its two lanes has been closed since last week. Engineers say a long crack splitting the road in half is slowly on the move and getting wider. The depth of the crack in one spot Thursday was nearly four feet.
The road, which is about three-quarters of a mile off SR 202, is the sole access to 78 homes, according to the King County Emergency Operations Center. People who live in the area were asked to voluntarily evacuate or risk getting cut off.
King County officials went door-to-door Thursday with flyers saying the road will be closed between 9 a.m. and noon Friday while a geo-technician inspects the slide and road. An update is expected Friday afternoon.
“The worst thing that could happen (Friday) is the expert says, ‘You need to close this road,’ and we would need to close the road,” said Jeremy Ferguson with King County Road Services.
Ferguson said if that happens, crews would have to start building a whole new road that would cut through private property.
Ferguson said in the area they’re considering, a new road could possibly be built in as little as two days.
Some neighbors noticed the landslide pulling the road apart also appears to be tipping a power pole carrying electricity for all 78 homes.
“My opinion is that if the slide does go, that it will probably take the pole with it and that pole, good chance it’ll pull the power line down and they won’t have a good way to get up there and access it to repair it,” said homeowner Jim Lawrence.
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