A private consultant presented preliminary options for a more permanent fix to a creeping landslide in Jackson at a Town Council meeting yesterday.
The Town of Jackson has hired Oregon-based consultant George Machan to come up with options for stopping the slow-moving landslide on Jackson's East Gros Ventre Butte. Although the earth movement has slowed to less than half an inch per week, town officials want to reinforce the slope to prevent future problems.
The options have price tags ranging from eight million to thirty million dollars.
A slow-moving landslide has displaced homes and businesses in Jackson, and the town has been working to deal with the problem for weeks. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden spoke with reporter Rebecca Huntington, who’s been following the situation closely. She says from what geologists have said, the cause of the landslide seems to be a combination of natural and human-induced factors.
Jackson is shutting off water today to homes and businesses on the north side of West Broadway as part of its ongoing response to the creeping hillside collapse on East Gros Ventre Butte.
The plan is to install new valves and hydrants that will give the town the option of capping off a 12-inch water main, along the slide area, if that becomes necessary. Although the hillside is shifting slowly, it's creating forces that could burst both the water main and a nearby sewer line.
A slow-moving landslide in Jackson has started accelerating, blocking off the area's only access road and undermining options for stabilization.
Crews stopped work Thursday on an emergency buttress designed to slow down the slide. Officials decided it was no longer safe to work beneath a cut slope that kept releasing gravel slides, and pulled workers off the job. The only access road to the hillside has become impassable.
The Town has hired landslide expert George Machan, who gave an update today.
On Monday, the Jackson Town Council voted to increase emergency spending from $50,000 to $750,000 to deal with the slow-moving landslide beside the town's main thoroughfare. Town officials say the money is needed to manage the slide and to build a buttress to create pressure at the base of the slide to slow it down.
The Council voted four-to-one to approve the funding. Councilman Jim Stanford cast the lone dissenting vote.
An evacuation order is being downgraded to an advisory for some homes and apartments under threat from a slow-moving landslide in Jackson. An evacuation order will remain in effect for five residences within a high-risk zone where geologists are seeing slope movement of about an inch a day.
Even though residents in lower-risk areas are allowed to move back, Acting Police Chief Cole Nethercott says he's not encouraging them to do so.
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.
A geologist and landslide consultant says the chance of a sudden, catastrophic slope failure on East Gros Ventre Butte in Jackson is only about 5 percent. As a result, town emergency services have downgraded their evacuation order, allowing most businesses in the Hillside building to reopen this morning. Some businesses and many residences remain under an evacuation order.
At a community meeting last night, Acting Chief of Police Cole Nethercott asked residents not to take unnecessary risks by entering the evacuation area on their own.