(Photo taken this morning by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
With the next rainy season right around the corner, a drilling crew was sighted in the Beach Drive slide zone last week, and several people e-mailed WSB to ask if we knew what they were up to. You’ll recall that the fight over who’s to blame for the slides and the resulting road damage and home dangers is now part of two lawsuits – one filed by the city in 2009 against an upslope homeowner, and a newer one filed by nearby homeowners earlier this year (here’s our May report). Online files on the latter suit reveal a counter-claim recently filed by the upslope homeowner; we checked with the city on the overall status of the case, and here’s the response received from the City Attorney’s Office:
While neither lawsuit has been resolved to date, the parties have agreed that additional information is needed to determine next steps and develop an appropriate fix. The work that occurred last week involved drilling in several locations on the hillside to allow engineering analyses of potential solutions.
That’s all they can say since the matter is still “in litigation.” Meantime, we have an inquiry out to SDOT to ask if any road work is planned before winter, given that whomever is to blame, it’s indisputable that the road alongside the slide remains in bad shape (and wintry conditions like ice – remember this? – compound the problem).
ADDED 5:48 PM: SDOT’s Rick Sheridan answered our inquiry (the short answer is “no”):
In mid-July SDOT crews completed asphalt resurfacing on Beach Drive SW between SW Snoqualmie Street and SW Jacobsen Road (the 4600 block), just beyond the slide area. That work was made possible by the mayor and city council directing property sale funds to spot paving.
The roadway to the south, by the slide area, is in need of full pavement reconstruction. However, repairs in that area will need to wait until the slope is stabilized around the 6300 to 6500 blocks.
In addition, that section of Beach Drive must compete with busier streets in West Seattle and elsewhere for scarce paving dollars. Two examples of other streets that carry much heavier traffic volumes and are competing for the same paving funds are Delridge Way SW, which is scheduled for paving in 2014, and the south end of California Avenue SW, for which there is no funding available at this time.