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Crews working to free more than 100 residents stranded behind Chimney Rock Road washout

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Posted at 9:42 PM, Apr 06, 2023

A large-scale effort is underway to rebuild a washed out-road near Lake Nacimiento that left about 100 residents isolated since early March.

Crews using heavy equipment to take large boulders and drop them into the washout to build a temporary access road along Chimney Rock Road.

Help is on the way for dozens of people who have been cut off from the outside world.

“It’s been tough. We’ve been out here 10 years. I just found out I had breast cancer right about the time that the bridge washed out the first time,” said Diann Thomas who lives past the washout.

She hasn’t seen her house in more than three weeks and all she wants is to be able to drive home.

“We’ve been in motels ever since. Never thought we’d say it but we’re real tired of living in motels,” said Thomas. “And the doggie is really tired of it, she loves her time up on the mountain.”

The long wait is almost over as crews lay the foundation to build a temporary road back home.

People who live behind the washout came out to see the heavy equipment in action.

“It made me think that progress is gonna happen,” said Mike Linkiewicz. “Other than that, I’m just glad. I want to get it done so we can get home.”

Semi-trucks are carrying large boulders and dropping them off at the washout site.

The boulders are then carried down a steep dirt road where they are dropped off to be placed in the water.

The work is much more than just stacking rocks on top of each other.

Each boulder has to be locked in with at least three points of contact.

These boulders will serve as the foundation for the temporary access road.

The foundation will be able to withstand major flooding because the water will simply flow through the boulders.

“I’m real glad, I hope they get that temporary bridge going real soon so that we can get in. We want to go home so bad,” said Thomas.

Impacted residents say they are doing their best to stay positive in this challenging situation.

“You don’t have a choice, do you? we’re making lemonade,” said Linkiewicz.

The next steps are building a temporary bridge directly over the washout which should be completed sometime in May.

Crews will eventually repair the entire road which is expected to take a while and could cost as much as $1 million.