South Whidbey Record


New road gouged out for Ledgewood access

South Whidbey Record Editor
April 7, 2013 · Updated 8:01 AM

Road worker Brian Jones and Foreman James Wiaczek, both with Island County Public Works, smooth the surface of an emergency road built to access homes on Driftwood Way. / Justin Burnett / The Record

Driftwood Way homes marooned by a massive landslide in Ledgewood became accessible by vehicle for the first time in nearly a week late Monday.

Island County Public Works road crews began bulldozing an emergency, one-lane gravel road Friday, March 29.

The new road is a relief for full-time residents, marking an end of the necessity of slogging up and down a muddy trail to get to their homes.

“They’ve been great,” Driftwood Way resident Greg Cosgrove said, referring to public works employees.

“We were really cut off for a while,” he said.

More than 1,000 feet of bluff collapsed March 27, taking out a large section of Driftwood Way, the only vehicular access to 17 homes in the small waterfront community.

No one was hurt but the devastation claimed one home and left four others uninhabitable. Two are on Driftwood Way and two are on Fircrest Avenue, the parallel street that runs along the top of the bluff.

The newly constructed, 600-foot road connects the southern end of Fircrest to Forgette Lane, a small side street off Driftwood Way.

As of Tuesday morning residents were still without power and Puget Sound Energy officials were unsure when it will be restored.

PSE officials on the scene Monday speculated that power won’t be restored to Driftwood Way homes until next week.

The fate of the five homes most affected remains unclear. The only house directly in the path of the landslide is visibly intact, but it was knocked off its foundation and traveled about 150 feet from its original location.

The building has been red tagged, which means it’s too dangerous to enter. “He is in a tough spot,” Bill Oakes, Public Works director, said of the owner. “I feel for him.”

The four uninhabitable homes are yellow tagged, which means owners are allowed to enter and remove personal contents but they are not permitted to stay for long.

Additional work on the new road continued throughout the week. At some point, it may also be paved and become the permanent access to the small community.


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