Recent rains wash out roads, erode river banks in Skagit County
On Wednesday, an engineer determined that Prevedell Road is too dangerous for vehicles and kept the road closure in place.
The road was closed on Sunday after heavy rains washed away a chunk of the roadway.
Nearly 100 people live up the steep and windy road that is the only access for residents to and from homes.
"It's definitely inconvenient," said resident Tim Babcock.
People who live on Prevedell Road, including Babcock, are parking their vehicles at the bottom of the road and walking up the steep slope, Some are using quads to get back-and-forth.
"Since they said it was closed I was just going to respect that in case something happened," said Babcock. "I didn't want to be the guy that tore the road down."
The county is now trying to figure out a plan to construct a temporary emergency access road that would connect Prevedell Road to Carpenter Road.
"It's unstable and not getting better any time soon," said Town of Lyman Mayor Ed Hills.
The erosion happened on a section of Prevedell Road that the town of Lyman maintains, but the residents affected by the closure live within county limits. Many are elderly or have children with special needs.
"We feel stuck," said Mindy Griffin whose son has special needs.
"At any waking moment we've been to the hospital several times, and if the road gives out we just don't have access and that could be really scary," said Griffin..
People in Lyman are also keeping a close eye on three homes along the Skagit River. The water has undercut the bank and one home is now teetering on the edge. The residents evacuated in November but they've been returning to check on the property. The county applied for relief through FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grant program, but they're still waiting to see if the homeowners will get any help.
The weather-related problems are now creating a tough situation for the town's top leader.
"Those homes are empty," said Hills. "I have 100 people - county residents- they're in trouble right now so pick your priorities, I guess."
Meanwhile, residents on Prevedell Road continue helping each other get back and forth while their road is closed.
"They'll get it fixed but short-term it's kind of a hassle and scary for everybody," said Babcock.
Hills said it's unclear exactly how long it will take repair Prevedell Road. He estimates it could be the end of August, and that the project could cost about $300,000.