Update: April 5, 2017
The ACHD Commission on Wednesday approved the
plan to reopen Warm Springs Avenue, which calls for a contractor to pull
down the remaining loose boulders and remove all of the previous debris
caught behind the existing barriers. Commissioners also heard about
longer-term projects to stablize the hillside but those options will not be
considered until more research has been completed to evaluate the
effectiveness and potential costs. Work is expected to be completed by the
end of next week.
The Mesa's face has generally stablized since late February, after
falling rocks forced the closure of the road in early January.
Update: March 31, 2017
Now that the Mesa's face has remained stable, the ACHD
Commission on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, will consider a recommendation
for interim steps to improve safety and reopen the road. The plan calls
for the removal of loose rock still on the slope as well as previously
fallen stones behind the safety railing. No new boulders have fallen
since Maintenance crews cleared the asphalt on February 22nd.
If the Commission approves moving ahead, a contractor will be hired
to clear the loose material, which will allow for the reopening of the
road upon completion, provided the slope stays stable. The Commission meeting starts at
noon on Wednesday.
Update: January 30, 2017
ACHD crews will remove fallen rocks on Starview Drive starting today. The road
will be monitored and if it remains suffiiently boulder-free in coming
days may be considered for at least partial reopening.
Warm Springs Avenue, however, continues to shed numerous stones and
cannot be considered for reopening at this time, ACHD's Engineering and
Maintenance departments concluded on Friday.
A geotechnical firm has been hired to study the situation and provide
options for interim steps and a long-term solution to the long-standing
problem. A report is expected by mid-March.
Numerous large rocks broke loose the week of January 9, 2017 from the Warm Springs
Mesa, forcing the closure of portions of Warm Springs Avenue and East
Starview Drive until the slopes stabilize and the rock fall risk diminished. Rocks continue to fall, as can been seen in the last picture on this page,
taken Wednesday, January 18th.
Warm Springs Avenue is closed from Starcrest Drive to East Parsnip Peak
Drive, and Starview is closed from Warm Springs to South Mill Point Lane.
Residents of the Mesa will still be able to use Starcrest Drive and Windsong
Drive to access the area.
Those needing to travel downtown from east of the Mesa will have to use
Parkcenter Boulevard until further notice.
The rocks are likely falling because of the recent rain and thaw, which has
destabilized the fragile slope where rocks often move in the spring. The
winter’s weather pattern – snow, followed by weeks of subfreezing cold,
followed by rain and higher temperatures – is believed to have touched off a
fresh round of erosion.
In January of 2015, Warm Springs Avenue was closed for two weeks between
Starview and Starcrest after a 50-ton boulder fell onto Warm Springs Avenue.
After a contractor removed a number of teetering rocks, ACHD crews placed
more than 1,200 feet of concrete guard rail along two areas at the foot of
the Mesa to block stones from getting to the road.
Some individuals in recent days have removed barriers to access the
rock slide areas of the closed roads. ACHD asks people to obey the
closures to ensure their own safety, as well as the safety of emergency