Crack in the Rattlesnake Ridge is slowly growing
UNION GAP, Wash. - A crack in the Rattlesnake Ridge is turning into a landslide that could impact people living on Thorp Road and anyone traveling on I-82.
The Yakima Valley Office of Emergency Management said they discovered a crack in the Rattlesnake Ridge back in October.
They said it was growing about a foot a week and lately it's growing even faster.
Senior Emergency Planner Horace Ward said they have not determined a cause yet and said it's just nature.
Ward said the ridge is being monitored and they think the slide will stop itself.
"It could continue to move slowly enough to where it kind of just keeps spilling a little bit of material into the quarry until it creates a toe for itself to stop and stabilize the hillside," he said.
However, Ward said that the geologists monitoring the crack said it could get bigger within the next month before it stabilizes.
He said the emergency team is not anticipating the landslide to have any impact on the river and said it will not cause large amounts of flooding to Union Gap or the Yakima area.
Worse case scenario, Ward said those living on Thorp Road by the ridge could have rocks fall on their homes and rocks could also fall onto I-82.
"We advise you not to be there, especially Thorp Road, it's directly under where this western toe is of the slide," Ward said. "There's a good potential for rocks to come down there on Thorp Road, and there has been."
He said there is a level three evacuation, advising of the dangers for those living on Thorp Road but about 30 people have still chosen not to evacuate.
As for I-82, the Department of Transportation Spokesperson Summer Derrey said they have a plan in place but they still want drivers to have a heightened awareness when traveling by the hill.
"If we felt the highway was unsafe, we would close it," Derrey said. "We are monitoring the area around the clock."
Derrey said they are advising drivers of possible rock fall with signs along the highway. They are also installing large shipping containers along the road to catch falling rocks.
She said if they notice rock fall, they will close I-82 and re-route using US 97.