Sunset to be closed multiple months
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
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.”
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.