Lower Budge Drive lost to slide overnight

By on April 18, 2014

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – As Jackson Hole residents awoke and made their way to school or work, many noticed that Budge Drive took a massive hit from the slow moving landslide during the night.

budgecrop

Temporary concrete barricades were pushed to the center of lower Budge Drive. Photo Judd Grossman.

Teton County Emergency services issued this statement at 8:39 a.m.:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LOWER BUDGE DRIVE LOST

Jackson, WY. Lower Budge Drive sustains extensive damage and is lost to vehicular access.

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.

United: The TOJ pump house and Walgreens sign.

United: The TOJ pump house and Walgreens sign. Photo Judd Grossman.

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.

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Vehicular access no longer possible on lower Budge Drive. Photo Judd Grossman.

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 entitled, “Living with Landslides,” and they 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 739-4500. Anyone in need of immediate mental health services should call the Community Counseling Center at 733-2046.

***  end ***

Check out the aerial photos taken yesterday evening. Photos:  http://www.tributaryenvironmental.com


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35 Comments

  1. sue carter

    April 18, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    Keep on fracking!

  2. sue carter

    April 18, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    keep on fracking…

    • Alexei Suprunov

      April 18, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      Ummm, no. This is not due to fracking. There is none taking place anywhere in or near town. Check your facts before commenting please.

    • Cora

      April 18, 2014 at 4:21 pm

      Hello Sue? Where the heck do you live and get your info from?

  3. BSC

    April 18, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    This has nothing at all to do with tracking. There is no fracking within at least 150 miles of this location. This has to do with poor development practices and the Jackson Town Council approving far too much intense development in a place that should never have had this kind of development. Former Jackson Town Council members like Melissa Turley, the Mayor and others made poor approval decisions mostly based on economics and emotionalism rather than solid, geological proof that the land was stable there. The older generation engineers and geologists have told the town since the 1970’s that the Budge Drive hill was not a stable place to build but these know it alls built there anyway.

    The area wasn’t stable and the developer pulled out the last stop that caused this avalanche process to start moving. There is far too much development happening in Jackson. There needs to be much more public involvement in this process and the town and county need to start listening to the people (the majority) instead of just the big real-estate speculators, etc.

    • Tom Fox

      April 18, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      Thanks for the intelligent comment BSC. I just couldn’t believe that her knee jerk reaction was intended to be informed and reasonable. These knee jerk reactions are all too prominent any more. There is no intelligent thought behind them. No thought of any kind at all.

  4. Tom Fox

    April 18, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Do you really think they are fracking in that location Sue?

  5. sajenup

    April 18, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Im sure most valley residents would agree with BSC,I do.To much shmoozen goin on! I hope the ones who signed off on this pay the 750,000.00 , not the tax payers . Probably one of the steepest cut banks in the county , with a little wall at the bottom and some wire mesh ,COME ON!.

  6. Jim

    April 18, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    No, this is definitely the result of “ghost fracking”. Much like the earthquake so on theach east coast, fracking’so impact is not limited to the immediate presence of the drilling. The gas industry is 100% to blame. Shame on you Mr.Cheney

    • mitch

      April 19, 2014 at 9:19 pm

      this has nothing to do with fracking, it has everything to do with geology and over development and greed. its going on all over the country. the cheapest land is a hill. with modern equipment and engineering they cut the hill to be flat and build a retaining wall. the problem is most engineers don’t take external factors into account when they build a wall or cut a hill. I have done extensive soil engineering myself and can see from the basic and remote research that the Walgreens construction was the trigger here, but other factors have helped this situation. during construction of buildings there’s a lot of equipment and vibrations. this loosens the most compacted ground and can cause havoc in construction. precautions are taken for the building under construction but not the ground or building around the area.

  7. Cora

    April 18, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Thank you to all other intelligent comments. I am surprised that Walgreens was allowed (or maybe they were not allowed) to cut into that hill more than had already been done in the past. Without any Engineer knowledge, could they have built any kind of retaining wall that would have held that mountain?

    Any thoughts on who will be sued for this? Walgreens or the town of Jackson?

    • Grey Quan

      April 19, 2014 at 1:02 am

      Every landowner has the right to support of their land in its natural state. If it can be shown Walgreens cut into the hillside and negligently caused the slide, Walgreens is liable. If, however, the hill would have slid in its natural state, than nobody is liable.

      The town of Jackson will probably not be liable. Government typically enacts laws to protect themselves from common negligence, regardless of the situation. As such, even if they approved the building permit, they probably are immune from civil prosecution. I would probe a suit against Walgreens and see if they investigated the stability of the hillside before doing anything.

    • Edie

      April 19, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      Both!!! and the engineers and geologists!

    • mitch

      April 19, 2014 at 9:27 pm

      yes a proper engineering study would have been able to determine what type and the size of wall. the wall would have been extensive and costly. but more importantly than a wall would be the drainage of moisture behind the hill and from upgrade “top of the hill”. the wall would have been the builders problems and the drainage systems the cities. being the cost involved wouldn’t be not be cost effective it would have never been done. the city, county and inspectors office will point the finger at the land owners that built there and deny liability. the land owners “like walgreens” will point at the developers, they will point at the engineers, the engineers can argue that is was only safe for the building they worked on and there shouldn’t have been more development and its the cities fault. so its a never ending circle that started with zoning and building department.

  8. Steve

    April 18, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    If I had to bet, I’d say Exxon Mobil.

  9. Chemtrails . . .

    April 18, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    Thanks Monsanto!

  10. Grey Quan

    April 19, 2014 at 12:55 am

    This slide could have been avoided. It’s no doubt due to the conservative republicans running rampant in Jackson Hole. Fracking and conservatives, that’s what I say.

  11. teddykaye

    April 19, 2014 at 7:40 am

    Anybody can make an uninformed comment on this situation. But here’s something to think about.

    When you’re at the beach, make a pile of sand. As you make the pile higher, the base, or area of the bottom of the pile, widens to support the pile above it. If you take your shovel and cut away part of the side of the pile, it collapses. The more you take away, the more it collapses.

    This, in a nutshell, is what happened, when greed overcame common sense and Walgreens’ “expert design team” decided to cut into the pile. It’s all about geometry and mechanics.

    • Edie

      April 19, 2014 at 2:40 pm

      You are exactly right!

    • ponder

      April 20, 2014 at 6:38 pm

      Yes thank you…after reading a multitude of off base heart-felt issues not really pertaining to the minutia…also, I have been to Jackson for the last 15+ years to re-calibrate…but did not that hillside/mass-hillside makeup look like beach sand? Was there no investigation as to the Soils stability? No one punched any holes to investigate the integrity?

  12. JSD

    April 19, 2014 at 8:41 am

    Walgreen’s, Exxon Mobil, Mosanto(?)…It started way before Walgreen’s. Walgreen’s was just the last straw. I love how so many people want to blame big corporations (fracking! LOL) for this mess.

  13. LeRoy Johnson

    April 19, 2014 at 10:25 am

    It’s the rich people’s fault – DEPORT them!

  14. tonybillbob

    April 19, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    Is Walgreens the cause of the slide or has this area been prone to slides ever since Budge Drive was carved into the hillside? Perhaps the problem actually stems from the construction of SW Broadway St., if that was when the toe of the hillside was first cut back.

    Whatever is deemed to be the actual cause, all the homes at the end of Budge Drive look to be at risk in the near future. And Walgreens and the business to its left (southeast?) look to be total loses too.

    “Her kind and hurricane track that kind of glamour,
    they say with a whisper and nervous stammer.
    Therein endless white noise highway clamor,
    two houses built too close with reckless hammer…..” — Howe Gelb/Giant Sand — Frontage Road

    Be they houses or Walgreens, ya just can’t go recklessly building stuff wherever ya want to simply because it expands the tax base, brings jobs to the area, or because you know someone on the Building and Planning Commission. Mother Nature — gravity, in this particular case — has her limits, and they must be appreciated and respected.

  15. Beverly

    April 19, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Nature will take her course, even after all the interference by man. Look at La Conchita, CA, 01/10/2005. Hope no workers are in danger!

  16. gerard

    April 19, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    If any of you all care who is impacted by this slide you can go to the Teton County public records site and search http://maps.greenwoodmap.com/tetonwy/clerk/query/ enter hillside subdivision, map it and you will see all the property owners ID numbers there on the map then search for that particular property.

    • gerard

      April 19, 2014 at 5:10 pm

      The Wallgreens site base elevation was almost 2o feet higher back in the 70’s when CVub Schaeffer had his sewing factory there, so someone over the last 30 years has scraped off a lot of dirt to get it down to the level it sits at now, which MUST have contributed to what is ongoing today, Sad events!

  17. wendy

    April 19, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    cant make a cut like that and expect it to still be stable, who ever approved it she take credit, not sure why people put blame where it don’t belong really fracking???

  18. Miles

    April 20, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Fracking? I think NOT! I am thinking most of you have never been to Jackson or maybe don’t have a clue where Jackson is even located. Well I know that country well. And I must say you want to blame Fracking on everything that is going wrong these days! But you should really get your facts straight. Like above post there isn’t any Fracking going on in a 150 mile radius of Jackson. And I am sure the the EPA wouldn’t allow that to go on right in the middle of town. Jackson Hole Wyoming has became an over populaited tourist town they are building on top of each other and this is why this has happened! And not that it matters I grew up as an oilfield brat and support FRACKING .

  19. Buzz Lightbeer

    April 21, 2014 at 12:21 am

    Whomever first approved of the houses to be built in the middle of the mountain of dirt & the businesses/houses to be built at the bottom of it ought to be tarred, feathered, & hung out to dry, for everyone to enjoy & placed photos of them in the national news. Whomever allowed that to happen in the very first place should have their collective butts kicked.

  20. Joachim

    April 22, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    While I understand that Walgreen’s may have played a role, I think we may be overlooking the role that fracking played in this disaster. Why is no one mentioning that fracking and erosion go hand in hand?

    • tk369

      May 2, 2014 at 5:50 pm

      joachim? you are a nutbag. have you ever BEEN to JH?

  21. James

    April 22, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Like Miles I’m also an oil brat, and I support fracking 100%. Cheap natural gas is the only chance that we have in this country to compete against the red Chinese. That being said I think it is irresponsible to frack next to a Walgreen’s. There is a place for fracking, but the middle of town is not it.

    • Tina

      April 22, 2014 at 3:58 pm

      Come on! People on this site could not be more misinformed! The last thing we need to worry about is China. The Soviet Union poses a far bigger threat, and they aren’t afraid to frack!

  22. Bob E.

    April 23, 2014 at 7:55 am

    Are you guys high? There is No Fracking in Jackson.

  23. Ski8um

    April 23, 2014 at 11:45 am

    It’s guns that’s the problem. Take away the guns and they’ll be safe. Yeah, sounds dumb doesn’t it. Just about as dumb as the fracking idea. Morons.

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