AUSTIN (KXAN) — Parts of Shoal Creek Trail is now in the creek after all the recent rain.
The section between 24th Street and Shoal Creek Boulevard has been closed since last May after a rainstorm caused the hillside above the trail to collapse. Thursday, the damaged trail slid down even more and fell into the creek.
It also appeared the landslide above the trail worsened as well. You can now see the exposed slope when you look up toward the top of the hill.
Austin’s Watershed Protection Department confirmed more of the slope slid down some time Wednesday night.
They sent KXAN a statement:
The area along the creek in front of the landslide is extremely dangerous; there could be additional earth movement or rockfall at any moment. As a result, no work can be performed at the base of the land slide along Shoal Creek. The public should stay out of the area as well.
Just three weeks ago, KXAN reported the city decided on a repair plan to stabilize the slope. At this time, the Watershed Protection Department said the plan remains the same.
Joanna Wolaver, Executive Director of Shoal Creek Conservancy, said, she’s concerned about all the debris that’s now in the water.
“Always when you have debris of that size, such as a trail in a creek, you get very concerned about its potential of acting as a dam and potentially causing flooding upstream,” she explained.
Wolaver also added if the water sweeps the debris downstream, that can be dangerous as well. “We’ve seen a lot of things go down Shoal Creek. I think in the 2015 flood, we saw a number of dumpsters flowing down, so water will pick things up and carry it down.”
According to the Watershed Protection Department: “In a major rainstorm, flood heights will be higher upstream of the landslide. We have not estimated the risk associated with the present condition, but an analysis performed last year under similar conditions indicated a flood could be enhanced by 0.5 to 1.5 feet.”
City officials say people should stay away from the closed area and if the creek floods, away from the rapidly rising waters.
“Shoal Creek is particularly concerning for flooding because it’s very highly developed, which means we have a lot of parking lots and we have a lot of rooftops where water falls and that falls directly into the creek. Water rises very quickly,” said Wolaver.