Sun­set to be closed mul­ti­ple months

The Weekly Vista - - Front Page - KEITH BRYANT [email protected]

Sun­set Drive re­mains closed af­ter the road was se­verely dam­aged late Septem­ber.

Dur­ing a rain­storm in late Septem­ber, the ground un­der the road gave way and slid into a con­struc­tion site for a Hull Der­ma­tol­ogy clinic near Sun­set Drive’s in­ter­sec­tion with U.S. High­way 71, along with a large chunk of the

road sur­face.

Dur­ing the last plan­ning com­mis­sion reg­u­lar meet­ing Oct. 8, Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Ser­vices di­rec­tor Kevin Gam­brill said that city staff are in dis­cus­sions with en­gi­neers re­gard­ing the is­sue and work­ing on a plan to re­solve it, which is com­pli­cated by the road be­ing built on top of fill.

Work­ers are ex­pected to re­move the road and resta­bi­lize the soil un­der it be­fore re­build­ing.

Sun­set Drive is ex­pected to be closed for mul­ti­ple months, he said, and a more ex­act es­ti­mate is not avail­able — though he did say it will be at the builder’s ex­pense, not the tax­pay­ers’.

“It’s months, plu­ral,” he said.

One nearby res­i­dent, Glynn Dor­ris, lives on Thorn­ton Lane, which sits off Cun­ning­ham Drive a short dis­tance from its in­ter­sec­tion with Sun­set Drive.

“We can live with it,” he said.

He was sur­prised any­one chose to build in that spot, he said, but be­cause Old­ham Drive and Cedar Crest Drive re­main fairly close it doesn’t amount to much more than an in­con­ve­nience.

Dor­ris said he sym­pa­thizes with the builder’s client.

“I hate to see any­one have that kind of prob­lem,” he said.

Just down the road is his neigh­bor, Linda Sell­ers, who misses the road.

“I miss hav­ing it,” Sell­ers said. “One rea­son I picked this spot… is be­cause I wanted to drive Sun­set Moun­tain ev­ery day be­cause it was so pretty.”

When she moved in 18 years ago, Sell­ers re­calls far lighter traf­fic around her home and a tree canopy al­most cre­at­ing a tun­nel over Sun­set Drive, which she said had to go to make space for elec­tri­cal lines.

Bella Vista could use the clinic, she said, but given the to­pog­ra­phy that lot may not have been the best spot to build. Even if the con­struc­tion went off with­out a hitch, she said, the steep en­trance would be tricky in bad weather.

Sell­ers said she isn’t sure of ex­actly why the road failed, but she be­lieves the con­struc­tion firm should have ex­perts ex­am­in­ing the site and should be held ac­count­able.

It’s a road she used of­ten — roughly five or six times per day — she said, though the tim­ing is for­tu­nate. If this hap­pened while Cedar Crest Drive and Suits Us Drive were still un­der con­struc­tion, she said, this would be much worse.

“I’ve got a way out,” she said. “It’s a beau­ti­ful road and I miss it… if that were my only way out, I’d be in trou­ble.”

Keith Bryant/The Weekly Vista

The top of Sun­set Drive, where it con­nects with Cun­ning­ham Drive, is blocked off to pre­vent ve­hi­cles from reach­ing the col­lapsed por­tion of the road.

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