Illahee Road mudslide: almost an annual tradition

It was bound to happen sometime.

Several days of heavy rainfall had Kitsap County Department of Public Works staffers on high alert watching the hillside above Illahee Road near Brownsville — a common slide area since the early 1990s.

Bob Wilson, county road superintendent, was among the employees who checked on the hillside several times on a rainy Thursday, Nov. 15.

“We’ve been battling slides here since 1993 or 1994,” Wilson said. “It usually occurs around Thanksgiving time. I was just hoping it’d be after Thanksgiving.”

At 12:45 p.m., a neighbor called Public Works to report that a chunk of the hill had collapsed and a tree was blocking the southbound lane.

“It looked pretty dry until now,” Wilson said as he surveyed the pile of trees, foliage and mud.

A nearby road crew quickly arrived on the scene and removed part of the tree with a chainsaw so that one lane of traffic could be opened.

Wilson estimated the slide contained between 60 and 80 yards of material.

“I would characterize this as a small slide,” he said.

Wilson said an excavator and several dump trucks were to haul the material out Thursday. It will be dumped in various locations Public Works has designated for slide waste.

Mudslides are common this time of year in Kitsap County, according to Roads Superintendent Bob Smith.

“There’s slide potentials all over the county,” Smith said. “We had a slide happen (Wednesday, Nov. 14) on Anderson Hill Road.”

Fortunately, a road crew trimming alder trees away from power lines near the Anderson Hill Road slide was able to remove the material from the road with shovels.

Due to the county’s geological makeup of clay and rocks, slides can happen anywhere there is a slope and a deluge of water.

“Wherever you have high cut slopes next to the road there’s potential for a slide,” Smith said. “And it’s all over the place.”

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 14
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates