Burpee Hill Road closes

By Jason Miller
(posted 2.23.11)

Two slides along an in-town section of Burpee Hill Road prompted Concrete Mayor Judd Wilson to close the road to all traffic on Jan. 18. The closure affects the stretch of road between Superior Ave. North and the town limit line.

The smaller of the two slides is near the road’s intersection with Superior Ave. North, where saturated soils have compromised the southern shoulder and the edge of the pavement, according to town engineer Jim Hobbs with Reichardt & Ebe Engineering.

The second slide is much worse, said Hobbs. It is located farther up the road and “appears to be a deeper-seated slide with saturated sand layers butting up against stiffer silt layers,” said Hobbs.

The result is a 160-foot stretch of road that has subsided 4 to 6 inches, causing the pavement to fracture on either end. Fixing the smaller slide is relatively simple, said Hobbs, but dealing with the larger slide “could be cheap or could be expensive and painful,” he said.

By Jan. 27, workers from Bellingham-based GeoEngineers had finished drilling core samples at the site of the large slide. Hobbs said he would wait for the analysis of those cores and the company’s recommendations before coming to the town to present its options.

Slides are all too common in the Concrete area. Two more slides have occurred at Baker River Road within the past month, one inside town limits. The slide that occurred outside town limits was approximately 920 feet long; county workers currently are working to repair its damage.

“About half the road went down the hill,” said Hobbs of the catastrophic Baker River Road slide.

An updated on the closure will be included in the March issue of Concrete Herald.

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