State trooper Melissa Fowler places cones in front of a mudslide that shut down County Road 14 thee-tenths of a mile north of the intersection of CR14 and Mt. Werner Road. The road will be closed for repairs between Treehaus and Brooklyn neighborhood until 6 p.m. on April 18.

Photo by John F. Russell

State trooper Melissa Fowler places cones in front of a mudslide that shut down County Road 14 thee-tenths of a mile north of the intersection of CR14 and Mt. Werner Road. The road will be closed for repairs between Treehaus and Brooklyn neighborhood until 6 p.m. on April 18.

Mudslide closes River Road

Homeowner's property washing away

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Mudslide

A mudslide occurred Tuesday afternoon on River Road.

A mudslide occurred Tuesday afternoon on River Road.

— A mudslide Tuesday afternoon closed River Road in both directions about three-tenths of a mile north of the Routt County Road 14 and Mount Werner Road intersection.

The road is expected to remain closed until about 6 p.m. Friday while Routt County Road and Bridge crews repair the slide, county officials said. There is no detour and traffic cannot be moved through the slide area. The road is closed between the TreeHaus and Brooklyn neighborhoods.

The slide occurred near the end of two days of warm and sunny weather, which made a dent in the piles of snow covering Steamboat Springs.

County workers had been monitoring the slide area in recent days, with good reason - Tuesday's slide occurred in the same location as a slide that occurred Sept. 6, 2007.

Valerie Perea, who owns the property in the Tree Haus neighborhood where the slide occurred, was contacted at her home Tuesday evening and said her attorney had advised her not to comment on the slide because of pending legal action.

Soon after the slide occurred last year, Perea told the Steamboat Pilot & Today she believed the slide occurred because of trenching done at the base of the hillside by the Yampa Valley Electric Association.

County officials said they believed YVEA was not to blame.

Two weeks after the slide occurred, Perea turned her focus to the Mount Werner Water and Sanitation District. She said a broken, 40-year-old, three-quarter-inch copper water pipe might have contributed to the slide. The 40-year-old pipe could have been leaking for weeks or months and was only found because of the slide, Perea said.

"Someone should have caught it," Perea said last year. "If they had, I would not have had more of my property wash away."

Jay Gallagher, the water district's general manager, said last year the slide was "not the result of negligence or otherwise on the part of Mount Werner Water."

Perea said last year it could cost her thousands of dollars to stabilize her property.

The county also expected to spend upwards of $20,000. Large boulders were installed at the bottom of the hillside to partially stabilize the slope and to prevent the county road from being damaged.

People with questions about the road closure can call the Routt County Road and Bridge Department at 879-0831.

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