According to Austin's Watershed Protection Department, rain sent by mother nature on Friday helped create a mess for those who live, hike and bike along Shoal Creek.
“There was a landslide that occurred on the western slope of Shoal Creek located between 24th St and 29th St.,” said Mike Kelly, managing engineer, City of Austin Watershed Protection Department.
Shoal Creek stretches 11 miles, and has nearly four miles of hike and bike trail. About 300 feet of the trail was destroyed in this series of events. Officials say it was a slope failure, that did this. This happens when the limestone keeping soil together breaks, and the clay underneath, slides.
“We have private property on top whose backyards have been affected and have been lost. We are monitoring for any structural damage up top, to date there is none. As we move down the slope, Pease Park, that was also impacted,” said Kelly.
In addition, a city wastewater line buckled. Some homeowners along Wooldridge Drive were within feet of being swallowed by the landslide. The city says those people are in no imminent danger.
“There is however a high level of concern that continued small failures of that slope could foot by foot creep toward structures,” said Kelly.
At this time the city is assessing damage, briefing employees and also creating models that simulate what happened.
“It was a different circumstance than what we usually see with trail damage on Shoal Creek,” said Joanna Wolaver, executive director of Shoal Creek Conservancy.
Joanna Wolaver with the shoal creek conservancy was devastated when she heard the news.
“Our role will be advocating for repair of the trail, getting the word out about safety concerns, and also there is a fairly easy detour on Lamar Boulevard sidewalk in this area that can be temporarily used.
The city is working to come up with short term solutions at this time.
“There will be permanent solutions…what those look like at this point, I can't tell you,” said Kelly.
The damaged part of the hike and bike trail is closed until further notice.