“A complete failure” of the retaining wall and embankment, says Baumeister
Edge Homes will meet with concerned homeowners from Hidden Canyon Estates tonight as Draper condemns two other properties this rainy season.
Three days after two homes at Hidden Canyon Estates in Draper slid down a slope and collapsed, home builders, city officials and residents are still working to understand what happened.
Edge Homes, the home builder, wrote in a statement released Monday that “despite all engineering and quality control efforts,” the retaining wall and slope “suffered complete failure.”
The structural problems began many months earlier, although “winter conditions compounded the problems and prevented us from stabilizing the homes,” Edge continued in the statement.
“Was that a design flaw by the engineers? Was that a construction error by the excavators and retaining wall companies? Was it a combination of both or neither? We simply cannot answer these questions today,” the company says.
Draper City Manager David Dobbins said the city got involved when property owners began looking into the structural integrity of their homes last year. Some of the warning signs were extensive cracks and broken doors. In October, the city declared the homes “habitable” and residents of the vulnerable properties were evacuated.
The city has since sentenced two other homes in the area. Edge Homes officials wrote that they plan to pay the “relocation, storage and temporary housing costs” of homeowners on either side of the slide area. Homeowners scheduled to meet with company representatives at the Edge Homes office Monday night.
“We haven’t identified the exact cause yet,” Dobbins said. “But any time you put that amount of water in ideal soil conditions, you can have these kinds of settlement problems.”
Landslides and erosion could be a problem across Utah this spring. Utah Geological Survey scientists see ground movement in the Wasatch foothills. “It has already started. We didn’t have time to examine all of this. We’re in the process of doing that,” UGS geologist Greg McDonald told The Tribune last week.
A half-football-field-sized mudslide hit 5500 North and Mountain Green Drive in Morgan County. Between 10 and 15 landslides occurred in Emigration Canyon during the month, damaging at least two homes, according to the latest UGS landslide event log.
While certain topographies are more prone to landslides, there are approaches builders can take to reduce the risk, explained Ben Erickson, chief geologist at UGS, but “it just depends on the budget of the person trying to build the area.” and to develop.”
Draper city officials are urging people to stay away from the landslide area, which has impacted popular hiking trails. The area is monitored.
“Safety is the number one concern we have,” Erickson said. “In the recent landslides that we’re seeing, some of them are pretty fast.”
These fast-moving landslides can injure people. Erickson said people should be aware of their surroundings and look out for warning signs such as large volumes of water coming down a slope.
For additional safety tips, readers can visit the Utah Geological Survey or Be Ready Utah websites.