Shoal Creek slope collapse reveals deeper fractures

The Shoal Creek greenbelt trail remains closed between 24th and 29th streets. A large section washed out and is forcing hikers like Paul and Sam Johnston to make an unexpected detour.

"It was very surprising going down the trail and all of a sudden seeing a chain link fence across it,” said Paul Johnston.

SkyFOX drone followed engineers with Austin Watershed Protection as they walked along the debris field in the creek bed. Managing Engineer Mike Kelly expressed a sense of urgency, because there is a possibility for rain next week.

Read City crews assessing damage after Shoal Creek landslide

"We just completed our survey and computer modeling which show yes indeed that amount of soil in shoal creek can cause additional water to get out into Lamar Blvd. That’s something we don’t want to happen. What we don’t know yet is how much of that dirt can be moved,” said Kelly. 

The focus of the review will not just be about how to make the repair, but how far up city work should go into private property. Video, provided by the city of Austin, shows how the damage goes beyond the park boundary and into backyards of homes. Who will pay for what has yet to be determined.

"What we are doing is working hand in glove with the property owners to share information for each of us to determine what is our next step, with of course safety always being the first,” said Kelly. 

It has been determined at least a portion of the Pemberton Heights neighborhood sits on a fractured geological formation. Kelly indicated that engineers are worried that sections, especially those close to the bluff line could shift again.

"it's too soon to say, that stable geologically has some inherent instability but in terms what it means right now to those houses that’s what our team is collecting information on and I don’t have that information right now” said Kelly.

Read Shoal Creek Hike and Bike Trail damaged by 'slope failure'

As to if there is an immediate threat to those homes right now for a break off, Kelly said he could not tell at this time. Answers, could come by Monday afternoon after the engineering teams meet.