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Landslide in Los Gatos causing significant travel issues for residents

Written by Amanda Hari

LOS GATOS, CALIF. (KPIX-TV)- A landslide in the Santa Cruz Mountains left some residents struggling to get to and from their homes. 

A portion of Mountain Charles Road in Los Gatos dropped off and can no longer be used by vehicles. County officials estimate it's impacting at least 80 homes. 

"It adds about another hour to my commute," Eric Hansen said. "If I park my car on the other side and ride my bike then I can manage."

Hansen lives near the slipped road. He must cross it every day to go to work or go to the store. He's worried, if it continues to sink, it may no longer be an option. 

"We don't know when the access is going to go away, so we're all really nervous about the county shutting this trail down," Hansen said. "What's really concerning is the fire safety because this road provided two ways to get out, and now we only have one. And it's a narrower and more congested road, so I am concerned."

The Santa Cruz County Community Development and Infrastructure Department became aware of the land movement on Feb. 26. within days, they said people could no longer drive on it.

The county is waiting until the land stops moving to be determine what kind of repairs will need to be made. With more rain in the forecast, it could take some time. 

"We just need the county to step up and get the financing that they need and mobilize the equipment and get this thing going," Hansen said about the community's current struggles. "Right now, there are several hundred residents that it's impacted."

"The people that I feel the most sorry for are the people up here. There are five houses that do not have a road," Ali Hyde said. 

Hyde also lives in the community. She attended the public meeting Tuesday night. The county updated the residents on the road's current condition and future plans. 

"My husband and I were really impressed that they seemed to be on it and care," Hyde said. 

In the meeting, county officials said they are in a difficult financial position due to unreimbursed FEMA repair costs from seven declared disasters since 2017. 

Officials said they are actively working on a plan to get it repaired but anticipate a timeline of one to three years. 

"The prognosis is about three years of inconvenience and really that's too much for any family," Hyde said in disapproval. 

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