Neighbors in Santa Cruz work to save road after 30-feet deep sink hole opens up nearby

Santa Cruz County is still being hit hard by the storm systems moving through the Bay Area. Residents there are grappling with flooding, crumbling roads, and coastal damage as we head into the next round of heavy rainstorms.

The rain has been coming down steadily for hours which is not good news for an area that is prone to flooding and mudslides. Now people say they’re doing all they can to hold on until hopefully, the rain stops in a few days.

"These are all people from our community who are out here, just trying to keep our community from falling apart," said Peter Memishian, who lives on Glenwood Drive and came up with a plan to save the road from flooding.   

Just off Highway 17 at the Glenwood Drive exit, this group of neighbors worked to keep a culvert drain from clogging up and flooding the road.

"If we don’t keep it clear, then our road washes out. Then we’re all basically marooned here for probably a couple of months until the county can do something about it," Memishian said. 

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With first responders stretched to their limits all over the County, they devised their own plan. The group connected a steel cable to an old tire. Then they connected the cable line to a pickup truck to pull the tire through the culvert, clearing debris that could be blocking water flow.

"Before we had this cleared, all the water was just running down, and we were trying to channel it, so we had sand bags on the road to steer it. We basically ran it over where the plastic is, so it wouldn’t further erode the dirt and the hillside," Memishian said. 

Further down the road a sinkhole about 30-feet deep opened up, closing access to the road completely.

"If you go another quarter of mile past that, for 50 yards the road is simply gone. It is washed into the creek. The asphalt road is in the creek," said Chris Copeland, who also lives on Glenwood Drive. 

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Earlier on Sunday, another neighbor tweeted this photo of Glenwood Drive as its foundation buckled under so much water.

"We used to have three ways out of here. North on Glenwood, south on Glenwood and up the cutoff. Now we only have one. So if this road goes we’re stuck," Copeland said. 

As heavy rains continue throughout Santa Cruz County, trees have fallen and portions of the sidewalk collapsed along Cliff West Drive into the ocean.   

Santa Cruz County ordered an emergency evacuation on Saturday after concern that two creeks would overflow, but they lifted it a short time later.