Sun Is Finally Out, But Storm Clean-Up Continues

A major artery in the Santa Cruz Mountains is back open to traffic after it was closed during last week’s storms due to a mudslide that eroded half of the roadway.

It’s not perfect, as only one car can pass through the narrow stretch at a time, but at least one storm generated roadblock has been removed for motorists.

Vine Hill Road is a major roadway winding through the Santa Cruz Mountains, links to Highway 17 and is considered an escape route from Santa Cruz during an emergency evacuation.

About 30 homes are located along a two miles stretch and the closure resulted in adding up to 45 minutes to their commutes.

Blake Doise was not expecting smooth sailing today on vine hill Road, but he was the very first vehicle to use the section that was forced closed by the storm on Sunday.

He passed on his motorcycle.

“I saw that it was closed, but then I saw it re-open and I was happy I didn’t have to turn around which would have meant another 15 to 20 minutes on the road,” he said.

Since the closure Santa Cruz county road repair crews have been putting in drainage pipe, laying sandbags and plastic, and beefing up the road to prevent the road from sliding further.

Resident Shiv Sikand was the first to report that the intense rain was quickly sending the asphalt down the hill.

"We watched the slide come down in 20 minutes, and I lost several oak trees on my property," he said.

He lives just yards below the road, but fortunately wasn’t hurt.

“I’m very happy they repaired it so quickly because in the past it took a year to repair things after a slide.”

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