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San Benito
February 27, 2024

Southside School leader suggests further review of road

The superintendent of the Southside School District thanked the county Tuesday for the reopening of Southside Road this week following repeated landslides, but also asked supervisors to review the vulnerability of the hillside moving forward.

Southside School District Superintendent John Schilling addressed county supervisors at their Tuesday meeting during public comment following Monday’s reopening to a section of Southside Road after at least five landslides had caused a shutdown to through traffic at Tyler Trail and Blossom Lane. The portion of the hillside road had been closed since the first landslide in late May. The county has spent over $1 million on related repairs while commissioning an analysis of the soil conditions as well.

The county announced Monday the road reopened. A public works official, meanwhile, said the county may have to look at temporary closures going forward for more work and that results from a soil analysis may be back this week.

Thankfully, the road opened up yesterday,” Schilling said to supervisors. “Our parents are very happy about that. I do want to make a suggestion to the supervisors to really address how fragile that hillside is, not only along the Blossom Lane area but also as you move further to the north toward the migrant labor camp.”

Schilling said he noticed a good amount of debris in that area this morning.

“I would urge the county supervisors to review any further projects that are going along Southside Road and to really explore some alternative access options.”

He mentioned how some property owners have created makeshift roads along their property lines abutting Southside Road and how there had been talk among officials about gaining access through the Ridgemark community.

The county’s Resource Management Agency Director John Guertin, who oversees public works matters, said it could be a temporary opening because the county still has work to do out there. Drivers might expect future traffic control measures and he’s unsure if anymore closures are necessary at this point.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to keep it open indefinitely,” Guertin said.

Supervisor Anthony Botelho asked about the soil testing, to which Guertin replied there may be results back this week.