New collapse at landslide on Shoal Creek Greenbelt

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– The size of the landslide can clearly be seen from SkyFOX Drone. The new collapse into Shoal Creek sheared off a larger section that first fell a year ago.

“We really want to emphasis the fact that the landslide is still very unstable, we encourage the public to stay away from the landslide area and from the creek and damaged trail below it,” said Diana Wang with Austin Watershed Dept. 

During a briefing Friday morning, city officials said they were not surprised it happened again. “This is movement we’ve been expecting all along,” Watershed Project Supervising Engineer Eric Loucks.

It’s believed the rock and mud started to shift between Wednesday night and Thursday morning. It was revealed the city now drafted a plan to shore up the bluff. 

“It would be a series of walls, primarily two large ones with anchors,” said Wang. 

A date to start construction has not been set. The goal is to have the giant retaining wall blend in with what’s already along the creek. Cost estimates are running between $8 and $16 million, and work cannot begin without council approval.

The slow pace has advocates for the park concerned. “We feel like a year is too long for this trail to have been closed down. We feel like the city has a plan in place, we understand its complicated issue, the homeowners have a valid concern, the city has valid concerns, but there is a way forward. we want everybody to get on the same page, we want this safety issue taken care of and we want the trail opened back up,” said Health Riddle with the Pease Park Conservancy. 

A big sticking point, according to the city, has been how to split up the cost for the project as well as access. “The thing that is complicated about this situation is in order to really stabilize the slope it has to be a solution to address the entire slope in order for it to be safe, and unfortunately that crosses property lines,” said Wang.

On the bluff, 4 homes are considered to be in the danger zone. Two have been vacated.  With the possibility of more rain over the coming weeks – sand bags will remain on Wooldridge Dr. They are there to deviate storm water away from the slope.

Debris removal from the creekbed will have to wait until the storms pass. That’s why Floodplain Administrator Kevin Shunk said there’s a concern about flooding along the greenbelt between 24th street and 34th.

“That flood risk is really tailored to North Lamar itself, I think the risk to buildings is minimal other than saying if those buildings are accessing off North Lamar, there could be an issue,” said Shunk.

City officials say the inflow of storm water into the creek will be monitored and if flooding happens crews will be deployed to close off the area.