ALTA (CBS13) — It’s been nearly 6 months since a road in Placer County was washed away and destroyed by the winter storms, leaving a small community stranded with no access to their homes.
The county has been working to regain access for these residents, and soon a new Morton Road bridge will be revealed.
The roadway at Morton Road near the Alta exit off of Interstate 80 was swept away by torrential rain back in January leaving a gaping sink hole 50 feet deep.
On Jan. 10, the pressure of the water caused dozens of feet of rock and soil between the Canyon Creek culvert and Morton Road to be swept away several hundred yards downstream.
“The creek was so high it totally washed everything away, it was 50-60 feet of nothing,” said nearby neighbor Michael Crum.
“It’s weird to see the whole hillside gone,” said resident Kinsey Smith.
“This was our only access road to our homes, it’s been very difficult, tough on everyone,” said resident Sherry Miller.
Morton Road was the only access to at least 15 homes, a business and a recreation camp in the Alta neighborhood.
“When it happened we had no clue what we were gonna do, how do we get in and out, how do we get food, handle emergency situations,” said Smith.
Thankfully neighbors like Smith and her husband graciously opened up their properties and through private roads, families with no access have had an alternative route home. An alternative access, however, that traverses a steep, windy gravel road over private property.
Meanwhile, working around the clock to get these families access and quick, Placer County began construction of a plan in March.
“We evaluated alternatives and came up with a bridge to be the most cost effective approach and one that could be done fast,” said Kevin Ordway, an engineer with the Placer County Department of Public Works.
With the bridge repair on the fast track, the goal was to be completed by the end of June.
“This crew has done a remarkable job, in a record amount of time,” said Crum.
“We’re really looking forward to getting access back to this community,” said Ordway.
It’s $2.5 million bridge that will soon be open to the public and that will hopefully give this community confidence during the next round of winter storms
“It’s quite exciting, I feel I can’t wait,” said Smith.
The county says the bridge should be open to the public by Friday. Final completion and a small ceremony is set for next week.