More than 1,000 Soquel residents are trapped in their neighborhood after raging waters tore away a huge chunk of Main Street early Friday morning.
According to Santa Cruz County spokesman Jason Hoppin, the damage began early Friday morning. Bates Creek, which flows under North Main Street just north of Pringle Lane, washed away the 6-foot culvert that ran under the road.
County officials called an emergency contractor which began dumping tons of rock into the culvert in hopes of creating a temporary one-lane road.
If that plan works, the road could be open as early as Saturday morning. If not, workers plan to build a temporary bridge, which will take about two days, Hoppin said.
Neighbors trapped beyond the closure are now walking a circuitous path through a neighbor’s property, who was allowing access over a small wooden footbridge.
Roughly 450 homes lie beyond the closure, and about 40 residents who do not have wells were without water Friday. Workers from Soquel Creek Water District are working to restore their service.
Katie Bauer, who lives in Berkeley, was visiting family for the weekend when the road washed out. She is now unsure how she will get back to work on Sunday.
“I’m surprised—this is worse than it was on New Year’s,” she said. “I didn’t think the road would be fully washed out.”
Matt Lucas brought his 3-year-old son Nolan to see the excavator and rock-hauler trucks as they worked to bridge the gap.
“They said it was going to be a big storm and it delivered last night,” he said.
Lucas said that the county had already looked at the culvert after the storms in January.
“It’s a little bit of a bummer that they didn’t see this one coming, or had somebody keep their eye on it,” he said.
Santa Cruz City Manager Matt Huffaker expressed his appreciation for how quickly the County reacted to the incident. While a temporary repair will come soon, he said that a permanent fix is still a ways away.
“Obviously, this is going to be a long-term repair,” he said.