About 60 Jackson residents remain under an evacuation order due to a slow-moving landslide on the lower flank of East Gros Ventre Butte that has buckled pavement, cracked retaining walls and undermined water lines.
Some homes in the Budge Drive Hillside area are not at direct risk from the slide. But the slide has compromised the only road to the homes and broken the main waterline. During a tour of the area today, Jackson Fire Chief Willy Watsabaugh said those problems make it unsafe to reoccupy those homes at this time.
“We do not have the ability to provide public safety,” Watsabaugh said. “We may not be able to get ambulances, fire trucks up here. And foot access is a possibility but we are currently assessing what that would mean and how we would accomplish that.”
Likewise, Acting Police Chief Cole Nethercott pointed out a sinkhole in the access road that has constricted traffic to one lane.
“We can’t really excavate it right now. We don’t want to exacerbate the problem,” Nethercott said. “We’ve obviously got an unsettled area, we don’t want to dig down there, we don’t know. We may make the problem worse.”
For now, the road will remain one lane, and Nethercott says officials are hoping the hole won't get bigger. For updates on the town's response to the slow-moving slide, visit townofjackson.com.