DRONE VIDEO: Landslide along Shoal Creek puts 4 homes in danger


A city engineer says a large landslide along Shoal Creek damaged the backyards of four multi-million dollar homes, putting them in danger.

New drone video shows a dramatic 80 to 100-foot drop-off where the clay and limestone came crumbling down after the rain Friday.

Mike Kelly, the lead engineer with the Austin Watershed Protection Department, says the homeowners are very worried about the slope failing even more and creeping closer to their homes.

The city’s biggest concern is more rain. There is no immediate rain in the forecast, but the clock is ticking to figure out a solution.

In addition to the residential damage, Pease Park was damaged along with 300 feet of the hike and bike trail, which is currently closed. Kelly said a wastewater line also buckled and has been temporarily repaired.

A team of experts from multiple city departments are trying to figure out a solution and have said there was nothing much they could have done to prevent it.

“Geology. This is what nature has given us,” Kelly said at a press conference Wednesday when asked about the cause.

There was a slope failure in the same spot in 1998. The city repaired it with a boulder retaining wall. Kelly said that patch held during this landslide, but everything else gave way.

The city is using flood plane models to try and simulate what happened. There is no timeline on a temporary or long-term fix. 

Kelly said possible long-term solutions include a sheet piling system that would include corrugated steel,  but added installing it would be tricky and could cause the land to slide even more. Another option is using earth anchors.

As of right now, Kelly said the ground is too unstable to haul in equipment.

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