Safety concerns pushed Los Gatos officials to reduce a portion of Shannon Road down to one lane of traffic last week, just months after a lawsuit alleging botched repairs to the road was settled.
While the town’s Parks and Public Works department said the road in East Los Gatos is not in danger of “catastrophic failure,” a review of the road’s pavement conditions showed some shifting occurred and the uneven pavement could create a “potential hazard” for travelers.
The closed 1,300-foot stretch of road runs westbound between Santa Rosa Drive and Diduca Way, which heads into town. The road winds through the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains and climbs from 570 to 685 feet above sea level.
Officials installed temporary traffic controls and signals on Aug. 11 for alternating one-way traffic flow along the closed portion of the road, which will remain in place until construction of the roadway starts later this year.
The road was the subject of a $5.5 million lawsuit last year between Los Gatos and Santa Clara County after the town annexed the road from the county in 2018 and inherited significant structural issues and costly repairs. Los Gatos officials accused the county of covering up the extent of the damage to the road during the annexation process.
The lawsuit was settled earlier this year, and the town received $1.565 million to help fund the estimated $4.3 million in repairs needed to fix the problematic road.
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Shannon Road has been experiencing cracking and settling, which can make it unsafe to drive on. The county had used asphalt patches, edge delineators and traffic signage – which Los Gatos officials argued were “band-aid repairs” – instead of reconstructing the road.
The county worked with Graniterock Construction on a repair project, using polymer injections to stabilize the road just before the land was officially annexed to Los Gatos in early 2018. The project saw 5-foot pipes inserted in the road and filled with a polymer solution, which the lawsuit alleged was ineffective as the pavement started to peel nine months later.
A county engineer who investigated the road said in 2015 that it needed to be completely reconstructed with a retaining wall. Two years later, the county instead repaved the road and put up signage to slow traffic.