West Seattle traffic alert: Slide concern closes part of Beach Drive

(WSB photo added 10:12 am)
ORIGINAL 2:28 AM REPORT: Thanks to Leslie (via e-mail) and Susan (via Facebook) for sending word of a road closure on Beach Drive. We checked with Southwest Precinct Lt. Ron Smith, who confirms that “SDOT responded to a landslide in the 6000 block of Beach Drive (map) … SDOT determined the landslide posed a risk to the public and closed the street.” He says that right now, there’s “no time frame for reopening the street.” We plan to check on its status before morning commute. 7:38 AM UPDATE: Still closed, per SDOT’s Rick Sheridan:

The road in the vicinity of 6031 Beach Drive SW was closed late last night due to a landslide risk. Concerns about a tree sliding onto the road due to wet soil conditions caused the city to close the roadway area for safety reasons. Metro has been notified and will reroute their buses based on this closure. We will reevaluate the area once we have daylight to determine how to stabilize the area and reopen the roadway.

As noted in comments (also thanks to Robert for the e-mail tip), Route 37 buses are rerouted because of the closure. Metro’s e-mail alert says:

Route 37 inbound service is temporarily rerouted this morning due to a mudslide at 48th Av SW & Beach Dr SW. Please use stops on 49th Av SW north of SW Hudson St or on Beach Dr SW north of SW Jacobson Rd.

You can sign up for route-specific alerts by starting with the box in the right sidebar here.

9:48 AM: We’re at the scene and will post a separate update soon with video/pix. Still no ETA for reopening the road – SDOT still has to evaluate the stability of the top of the slope. It’s closed from the 6000 block on the north to the Lowman Beach intersection on the south.

25 Replies to "West Seattle traffic alert: Slide concern closes part of Beach Drive"

  • Jayson Peterson January 13, 2010 (6:51 am)

    Just received this alert from Metro:

    Route 37 inbound service is temporarily rerouted this morning due to a mudslide at 48th Av SW & Beach Dr SW. Please use stops on 49th Av SW north of SW Hudson St or on Beach Dr SW north of SW Jacobson Rd. Thank you for your patience.

  • eileen January 13, 2010 (6:58 am)

    There’s a helicopter just hovering around Hudson and Jacobson – probably just related.

  • Larry January 13, 2010 (7:13 am)

    Walked by this morning. Nothing terribly dramatic that I could see. A bit of debris mostly along the side with a little in the traffic lane. I think it is near an earlier slide just below the very dramatic steel and concrete house on Atlas.

  • Tired of helicopters. January 13, 2010 (7:15 am)

    I just finished walking my dogs and was wondering if the helicopter that was constantly hovering above the Seaview Park neighborhood was because of the slide or is there another prowler/druggie/shooter on the loose again?!!!! The helicopter was pretty obnoxious for 6:45 am!

    • WSB January 13, 2010 (7:37 am)

      Tired, not 100 percent sure, but my money would be on TV traffic chopper looking for evidence of the slide problems – we have no word of a crime-related search.

  • madashell January 13, 2010 (8:01 am)

    Wow, don’t you bloggers sleep? I hope you get overtime.

    • WSB January 13, 2010 (8:08 am)

      Hi, Madas – we’re not “bloggers,” we’re journalists, and since the news never sleeps, we’re serious about covering it 24/7. As for OT – it’s a small business and like many small businesses, the hours can be very long, but we’d rather be doing this than be back in the corporate-owned news-media biz we chose to leave! – TR

  • Rats in a cage January 13, 2010 (8:11 am)

    Might be cleared by now but the left lane on the bridge just before the I-5 north on ramp was blocked with a delivery truck and 3 cars that “met”. 3 SPD cars there too.

    • WSB January 13, 2010 (8:13 am)

      Thanks. We posted about that on Facebook and Twitter (where we go with short-term traffic updates) and were about to launch an item here when we got word it was cleared.

  • Rats in a cage January 13, 2010 (8:28 am)

    D’oh! I need to sign up. Thanks

  • RC January 13, 2010 (9:35 am)

    Funny how this past year the trees on that hillside were all cut down for the “view”. I understand wanting to have a nice view, but it’s probably a good idea to replace their root systems with some other type of reinforcement…otherwise the hill turns into a sandcastle…

  • sliding nulu January 13, 2010 (10:11 am)

    RC, your good idea is the law.
    Property owners are not allowed to cut down any trees 8″ diameter or larger on that steep slope.
    Huge fines and restitution of the hillside are required by law.
    You can check to see if any of the required permits and plans are at DPD.
    My neighbors have incorrectly turned me in a few times so I am aware of the process & consequences.
    Last month I reported an active steep slope tree removal operation to WSB, two blocks from WSB headquarters, but WSB chose not to follow up.

    • WSB January 13, 2010 (10:14 am)

      Nulu, don’t make a claim that you have no way of knowing is true or not. I did not “choose not to follow up.” I in fact did follow up. Wasn’t happening when I went by to look. Opinion criticism of us is welcome as long as the critiquers don’t state something as a fact that is false – and since I’m the person you’re accusing here, I happen to know it’s false. Thanks.

  • I. Ponder January 13, 2010 (10:37 am)

    Recently, there was a big tree-topping at the bottom of Jacobsen. Numerous trees dropped willy-nilly in dangerous fashion. Likely one of those hit & run, paid-in-cash, no name given type of operations to open up someone’s god-given view from above. Not the first time in this area either. So much for the Amazon (rainforest) when we can’t even prevent renegade clearing in our own city.

  • Lura Ercolano January 13, 2010 (10:51 am)

    Inappropriate clearing can certainly exacerbate a problem, but the hillside where the slide occurred has been slide-prone for a very long time, with or without tree-clearing.
    Above, below, north and south of that spot had significant slide damage in 1998.
    The section of roadway that is being cleared waves up and down like a roller-coaster, which is strong evidence of major earth movement occurring throughout the entire mass of the hill, not just at the surface, and not just above the roadway.
    A short ways south of the effected area, there is a section of road that had significant work done a few months ago to address an area of earth movement. The road was flat when the roadwork was completed, but it already has a significant dip, showing that they may have “fixed” the road, but they were not able to fix the on-going natural earth movement in the area.

  • sliding nulu January 13, 2010 (11:54 am)

    WSB thanks for welcoming my criticism.
    I wish to disagree with you on “choose not to follow up”, we both agree that I reported it to you as active.
    I was an eye witness.
    I also have a record of confirmed tips in the past to WSB.
    Maybe by the time you drove by they had ski-daddled. I had asked them who they were working for ten minutes before contacting WSB.
    But they left chips in the road, sawdust and slashings on the hillside and obviously freshly topped trees all within city property.
    WSB is in the unfortunate position of claiming follow up, when that very claim leads to criticism of investigating/reporting.
    “Wasn’t happening when I went by to look.” is damning in itself.
    Did WSB contact SDOT?
    A follow up could have helped our community by reporting the report with photos of the damages
    and info about tree regulations in Seattle — always a hot blog item.

  • Todd January 13, 2010 (11:56 am)

    This really frustrates me (okay, pisses me off, honestly) if that is indeed the slope below the “Charter house”. They cleared that hillside for their construction and view, and just last winter (or maybe the year before) apparently the house was in danger of a landslide. Now this.

    When is someone going to force them to restore at least part of the hillside they demolished so that we are now forced to look at their totally-out-of-place monstrosity?

  • I. Ponder January 13, 2010 (12:42 pm)

    For sure, all steep slopes in the area are slide prone. It’s my understanding that when trees are topped and killed the root systems decay and create pockets where water accumulates. These pockets contribute to slides. I am not a hydrologist.

  • Rhonda Porter January 13, 2010 (1:27 pm)

    I Ponder, recently the City cut several trees down at the base of Jacobson… they were ready to drop–I think it was a safety issue and not one about views.

  • I.P. nulu January 13, 2010 (1:33 pm)

    I ponder too!

  • I. Ponder January 13, 2010 (2:12 pm)

    Nice to know. A few years back I encountered a property owner on Jacobsen who was seething because someone had cut down his trees without his permission. Remember the judge who cut down trees in Colman Park a few years back? He paid royally for his deed.

  • Sasha Newton January 13, 2010 (2:54 pm)

    When I was a little girl my Mom Marchine had a Barber shop right on Beach Drive during the 70’s thru the mid 1980’s. I vividly recall many home owners and business people were aware of these land slides….which were occuring as a direct result of deforestation techniques above Anchor park off Alki Beach. It seems that land being developed often yeilds such results especially on hillside terrain. You can’t “sell the Air” Chief Seattle’s Vision, but you can sell the land.

  • angelescrest January 13, 2010 (4:46 pm)

    Why oh why do they not post a “Road Closed Ahead” sign at Jacobsen? Kids almost missed the ferry this morning; what a waste of gas w/all the drivers going an extra couple of miles only to have to turn around. Bet the neighbors enjoy it too.

  • PeterT January 13, 2010 (5:44 pm)

    It’s 5:40pm, and it looks as if the barriers have been removed (at least from the north side of the area), and traffic is passing through the area that was cordoned off.

  • sliding nulu January 13, 2010 (7:52 pm)

    When I was a little kid in the 50s, when I was a teenager in the 60s and when I am an old told now, I ponder who to blame for all of those slides in Lincoln Park…no tree topping,no tree removal, no development yet many slides.

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