VIDEO: State, local crews compete to repair Santa Cruz Mountains storm damage, residents caught in middle

(Rob Fladeboe/Twitter)

 

SANTA CLARA COUNTY (KRON) — Repairing storm damage from last winter is testing the patience of some residents of the Santa Cruz Mountains above Los Gatos.

Closing both Skyline Boulevard and Black Road above Los Gatos to allow for simultaneous repairs would have meant long periods without access to their homes for about 200 people.

But on Monday night, they are feeling a little better about those repairs.

“Closed” signs are testing the patience of mountain residents.

When she left for work early on Monday morning, Galina Novick found that she could not get to work because both Highway 35, near her home, and Black Road were closed.

“This is closed and that is closed and what do you do?” Novick said. “You just drive in between. I have already been driving around for an hour.”

Mountain resident Mike Pate says he wants a solution.

“We need to coordinate, so there’s at least one path out of here,” Pate said.

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Thinking they would not be able to back home until after 5l30, Mike Pate and many of his neighbors left early.

And while it was completely closed early Monday to pave and repair some slip-outs and other damage, one lane of Black Road was re-opened by noon even though Highway 35, between Black Road and Bear Creek Road, would remain closed.

“We found out that Santa Clara County had planned some closures at the same time as our work and that would have landlocked residents,” Caltrans spokesman Jim Shivers said. “Fortunately, the county has rescheduled that work to a later date and that means there is now clear access to the area.”

As soon as Caltrans completes work on the stretch of Highway 35, work will resume on Black Road.

The repairs and risk of more damage with the return of winter rains loom large for residents, who only last month were cut off from their homes by the Bear Fire.

“Emergency vehicles wouldn’t have been able to get here either, and we have a lot of elderly people up here. Who knows? Somebody could have a heat attack or fall off a ladder,” Pate said.

“Depending on how quickly Caltrans can get its work done, the resumption of repairs to Black Road, which is down to one lane in a couple of spots, might have to wait until after Thanksgiving.

And another full closure will not be welcomed by the Christmas tree farms in the area.

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