Wet weather delays reopening of Santa Cruz highway

Bay Area

SARATOGA (KRON) — What began as a sinkhole on Highway 35 quickly evolved into a landslide that took out a 100-foot section of the outside, northbound lane and forced the closure of the entire roadway in early February.

The rain and runoff has undermined the pavement and part of the hillside above and below the slide says Caltrans Crew Chief Mehryar Mogharrab.

“Both sides of the road are compromised, one is totally collapsed and the other is on the verge of collapsing and we just can’t get it stabilized while it’s raining,” said Mogharrab.

An initial goal of re-opening the road today proved too optimistic.

The slide is about a mile and a half north of the border between San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties.

Detours include page mill road to the north and Highway 9 to the south.

Highway 35 is a priority but there are also storm-related problems on many other roads that also need attention says mogharrab.

“It’s not just one area, it’s multiple areas that are compromised, Highway 84, highway one and Highway 35, to name a few,” said Mogharrab. “It’s just nonstop.”

During breaks in the rain, crews are driving what are called steel sheet piles into the soil to stabilized the hillside.

But runoff from the rain is still oozing out of the ground forcing crews to wait for drier weather to continue.

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