SR-35 near Las Cumbres Rd closed indefinitely due to a wash out pic.twitter.com/MdFwO4iLDA— CHP San Jose (@CHPSanJose) February 10, 2017
A mudslide that left a gaping hole in Highway 35, known as Skyline Boulevard, in the Santa Cruz Mountains on Friday has become, locals worry, a target for rubberneckers. As CBS 5 explained on the day the slide occurred, the storm-related damage washed out a chunk of highway near Las Cumbres Road, making for a dramatic — and dangerous — scene. The section of that roadway, which lies above Los Gatos and not far from Castle Rock State Park, is closed. But according to a follow-up report from CBS 5, some so-called "disaster tourists" are still flocking to survey the damage.
For Laurel Cockcroft, a local homeowner who spoke with the news channel, that's understandable but still unacceptable. “I absolutely understand the curiosity of those who want to see it," says Cockcroft. "But the fact of the matter is this 150-foot section of road that’s slid down the hill is not going to be fixed in the next few weeks."
Have a look for yourself from the safety of your screen.
Another homeowner, one who was stopping drivers at the base of Black Road with several others in an effort to turn them around, believes that the saturated soil beneath the road can't deal with the added stress of more cars and onlookers. “We plead with them not to go up our one remaining road that’s in danger of collapse," Snodgrass says, “And we’re trying to keep as many cars off it as we can.”
Some admit they didn't follow Snodgrass's advice. "My friend mentioned to me how people were posting pictures about it," Cesar Ulloa confided in CBS 5. "That’s why we came... up here.”
Concerned locals tell KRON 4 that they've printed out fliers and signs to alert drivers to the situation, but according to that channel, hundreds have still arrived. Cockcroft tells KRON 4 that locals have to use the roads, but that others, who don't, shouldn't. "This is our only way in and out... Our lifeline for food, for gas, propane to warm our houses, medical care," she said.
The same day as the Highway 35 mudslide, a mudslide near Auburn shut down the highway in both directions. The following day, two workers performing cleanup from another mudslide on Highway 17 were struck by a dump truck, killing one of them. Just days before that, a mudslide leveled a home in San Rafael.