Zayante Road slipout repairs may happen this summer

Dear Street Smarts, Q: During the last storm, a huge chunk of East Zayante Road near our home collapsed and now that portion of the road is only one lane. The county placed an 8,000 lb concrete barrier around the hole and painted a stop sign on either side so drivers ‘take turns’ driving around it. There is also a blinking light there at night. Also, a little further up the road the rail was taken out by a car and there is nothing more than a barrier and yellow tape marking the gap in the rail. It’s been about three weeks now and we are afraid that the major and necessary repairs to these dangerous quick fixes may be coming later rather than sooner. We also understand that the Feds are pumping in some construction project dollars via the jobs bill that may only be available for a limited time. East Zayante is an evacuation route for the county and we’re hoping the county will make it one of their priorities. Please tell me that these important repairs to our road will be completed soon. Sincerely, Martha Graham-Waldon, Felton A: The repairs you seek could come as soon as this summer or as late as next summer, said Steve Wiesner, assistant director for the county Public works Department. How soon the repairs will be done depends on several things, he said. “These sites involve a myriad of issues, including environmental clearance, engineering considerations and funding,” said Wiesner. The county estimates the fix will cost $800,000, as the slipout goes about 50 feet down to Zayante Creek. Unfortunately, the repairs do not qualify for federal stimulus funding because of strict spending requirements by the Federal Highway Administration, he said. “Due to the geologic nature of the slipout, its proximity to Zayante Creek and that the damage occurred during a non-declared storm event, the county will have to repair the damage to Zayante Road with its own funds,” Wiesner said. Zayante Creek is home to a number of federally listed endangered species, including steelhead and red-legged frogs, he said. Now, his department is in the process of hiring a geotechnical engineer to determine how severe the problem is and whether it can be repaired by county crews. If not, an engineering contractor must be hired to take on the task, he said. Having county crews make the repairs would be more cost effective than hiring a contractor, he said. Depending on the outcome of the geotechnical investigation and environmental review, road restoration could happen this summer or next. As for your concern about a rail being taken out by a car, Wiesner said that may have occurred on Zayante Road near Zayante Market and may be storm-related. That issue will be addressed this summer, he said.
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