VIDEO: Crews preparing Highway 17 for next round of rain

 

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY (KRON) — The first full day of work since a life was lost has resulted in considerable progress on that big slide on Highway 17.

A complete fix is days if not weeks away. The short-term goal is to head off any potential problems associated with the next round of rain.

Taking out several more trees at the top of the slide was first on Caltrans’ “to-do” list Wednesday.

Next up is the removal of newly excavated earth and rocks, and construction of an 8-foot berm along the entire length of the slide.

That way, passing traffic on the southbound lanes will be protected should the slide grow worse in the coming wet weather.

Traffic is moving Wednesday one lane each way in the southbound lanes from Vine Hill to Sugar Loaf Road. But the commute from Scotts Valley to the Summit can take upwards of 2 hours with alternative routes also plagued by slides.

The California Highway Patrol is asking drivers to keep their eyes on the road as they pass by the on going work.

You may recall it was way back on Jan. 9 when the slide first came down, crushing a news van whose driver escaped serious injury.

Last week, it happened again as another driver had a narrow escape when the slide got bigger. Two days later, one worker was killed and another hurt when they were run over by a dump truck.

After a four-day shutdown, work resumed Tuesday amid new safety rules.

Only one truck at a time will be loaded and the work will continue weather permitting.

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