Highway 9 and Highway 236 repair work continues with no reopening dates

A massive landslide closed Highway 9 in the Ben Lomond area
A massive landslide closed Highway 9 in the Ben Lomond area.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Caltrans says crews are working to clear mudslides and repair storm damage to Highway 9 in the Ben Lomond area and Highway 236 near Boulder Creek, but the agency does not yet have an estimated reopening date for either.

Though the rain has slowed down in Santa Cruz County, work to repair Highway 9 and Highway 236 has not.

Caltrans spokesperson Kevin Drabinski said Thursday that the agency is working to reopen one lane of Highway 9, but currently has no estimated date for the reopening.

Highway 9 between Upper and Lower Glen Arbor Road in the Ben Lomond area has been closed because of a massive landslide. Highway 236 near Little Basin Road in the Boulder Creek area was also closed because of a landslide.

While the debris on Highway 9 has been removed, the highway is going to remain closed until the debris above and below the roadway can be removed. Because the landslide went through the retaining wall, there is debris below the roadway and the retaining wall will need to be fixed.

Currently, spider excavators are removing the debris, as well as shaping the slope to add stability. Along with those repairs, horizontal drains need to be installed to redirect water to the sides of the slope. There are “different pieces that are moving,” said Drabinski, adding that Caltrans is unable to say when there can be through traffic.

As far as Highway 236 goes, there is no estimated time of reopening. Caltrans is still currently developing plans for the best method of repair. However, since the lane is sagging down, workers will need to install a soldier pile wall, which is used for slope stabilization, remediation and earth retention, in order to reinforce the lane on the outside.

Bear Creek Road, south of Greenview Drive, opened to one-way, reversible traffic Saturday. The road had been closed since Jan. 15 because of a washout. Traffic will be controlled by a temporary signal.

Santa Cruz County said it is prioritizing repairs to fully restore Bear Creek Road but has not yet scheduled the full repair work.

There were 16 road closures across the county because of storm damage as of Monday morning.