By Jim Stanford on April 18, 2014
Update 3:15 p.m.: A crack has appeared in the wall of the Sidewinders parking deck, and three of the supporting beams are leaning at a crooked angle. The buckling of the Walgreens parking lot measures 8 feet high in places, and the Budge house above the cliff has broken in half.
After a week of slow movement by a landslide on East Gros Ventre Butte, the hillside above Walgreens began crumbling yesterday, creating a spectacle that drew hundreds of onlookers along West Broadway.
The slide sent near-continuous streams of dirt and rocks into the Walgreens parking lot, halting work on a restraining buttress. Movement of 3 feet was measured in the easternmost crack.
The Town of Jackson has set up a camera for live video streaming, from which this time lapse was made. (The live cam will not play on mobile devices.)
As of this morning, buttress work again stopped as the lower portion of Budge Drive has been lost. Town crews are working to salvage the technical equipment from the pump house that supplied water to homes and businesses in the area.
The slide accelerated yesterday, causing extreme buckling of the pavement and pushing the pump house into the Walgreens entrance sign. The lower parking lot of Sidewinders is buckling and undulating, too.
Here is this morning’s press release from the town:
Jackson, Wyo. — Due to buckling and undulation from the landslide yesterday afternoon and overnight, lower Budge Drive has been completely lost to vehicular traffic. Yesterday contractors worked to begin construction of the emergency stabilization buttress by installing concrete L barriers and placement of jersey barriers. Work was stopped midday due to continued gravel slides and ‘raveling’ of the hillside and again was completely halted before 3:00 PM due to safety concerns and continued movement of the buttress, which squeezed off access up Budge Drive for equipment.
Morning assessment of the area shows landslide material breached the retaining wall behind Walgreens and has begun to spill into that back parking lot. Ridges from the buckling and undulation of that parking lot are as high as 8 feet in some spots. Additionally the upper and lower parking areas of Sidewinders have begun to show stress and cracks. The crack delineating the larger high risk area continues to drop vertically as well as to widen and deepen. The crack at the upper western delineation of the high risk area shows approximately 10-15 feet of movement.
Town of Jackson Public Works crews hope to salvage as much technical equipment from the water pumphouse this morning as possible prior to the pumphouse being completely destroyed from the slide. All emergency stabilization buttress work has been halted as the lower portion of Budge Drive is lost to vehicles due to movement of the retaining wall and concrete L barriers.
Water will be shut off on Tuesday, April 22 to all businesses on the north side of West Broadway/Highway 89/Wyo 22 between and including Walgreens employee housing to the east and the Pony Express Motel and all businesses above the Pony Express Motel area to the west. Water will also be shut off on April 22 to Cutty’s, Old West Storage, and a portion of the Teton Gables Motel. The water shutoff will allow Public Works crews to install valves and hydrants necessary to provide the ability to cap off the town’s 12-inch water main along the potential slide area to avoid a significant water main break.
Lower Valley Energy shut off gas to the western portion of the Budge neighborhood yesterday afternoon at approximately 1:30 PM as a safety precaution.
A press conference will be held in the Council Chambers of the Town Hall located at 150 East Pearl Avenue today at 10:00 A.M. and will be live streamed to the public from the Town’s website, www.townofjackson.com. Immediately following the press conference, there will be an overview of East Gros Ventre Butte’s geology by Peter Ward of the Geologists of Jackson Hole. The presentation is titled, “Options for Dealing with the Budge Landslide,” and he will be discussing the geologic history and human activity at the site since the 1950s.This overview will also be streamed live to the public.
Emergency personnel are noticing increased distracted driving with multiple red light traffic infractions at the Budge Drive intersection. Motorists are asked to focus on driving to avoid accidents due to distracted driving.
Residents in the evacuation advisory area are reminded that they enter at their own risk. Evacuees and employees in need of continued services can contact the Community Resource Center at 307-739-4500. Anyone in need of immediate mental health services should call the Community Counseling Center at 307-733-2046.
Significant and critical information will be provided via Nixle alerts as well. Subscribers can change settings for the types of Nixle messages they receive in account settings. The live video feed of the incident is available through a link on the Town of Jackson website.