Due to heavy rains, Hot Springs Village suffered a mudslide on Jarandilla Drive on March 3, 2023, leading to the closure of a portion of that road until further notice. Rapidly responding crews worked diligently to clear the area of mud and other debris. Jarandilla Drive is suspended between Mesero Way and Tejando Way, with a detour in place to ensure the safety of residents and guests.
Ken Unger, Director of HSV Public Services, said the area soil is “clay and has a combination of surface and underground springs that are leaching through, and it got to the point where there was enough water” below and on the surface that the soil became destabilized, causing it to slide down the hill to the road.
Although Unger said he did not quantify the material on the road, “it was quite a bit.” Unger began looking at this problem when he investigated the issue of silt being deposited in the lakes, leading to the necessity of lake dredging. Silt from destabilized areas goes downhill and is ultimately deposited in the Village lakes.
“We can’t allow anyone to travel on this section of the road,” due to safety concerns, shared Unger. “There are still unstable areas up high. It needs to dry, hopefully over the weekend. There is still water running down.”
A large piece of equipment is needed to repair the area, and Public Services will either have to rent this equipment or hire someone with the proper machinery to pull down more unstable material from the top. Fissures and cracks are visible. “If we don’t address this issue, the soil will continue to slide,” explained Unger. The rest of the destabilized area must be collapsed to ensure additional major slides do not occur.
Once the unstable soil is removed, the POA will install a combination of rip-rap and gunite, also known as shotcrete application, to stabilize the area, so it doesn’t continue eroding. According to Wikipedia, shotcrete is a construction technique where concrete or mortar is conveyed through a hose and pneumatically projected at high velocity onto a surface.
Unger said he has been aware of the possibility of this sort of incident happening and was already working on ways to address the issue. Prior discussions for stabilization solutions explored matting or planting clover, but some areas are too difficult for this to work. Unger said he previously told General Manager Kelly Hale that a mudslide would be inevitable. “There are a lot of areas with erosion occurring, and the soils are becoming unstable from the rains. A couple of years ago, we lost a road. The whole road slid down the hill,” detailed the Public Services Director.
Public Services is working on a plan and estimates of the cost of what it will take to repair this area and one other along Jarandilla Drive, where it appears that previously smaller mudslides have occurred. This plan will be used to prototype how we address other areas needing intervention.
In addition, Todd Noles, Superintendent of Lakes, Dams, Common Property, & Forestry, said 15 downed trees were removed from Hot Springs Village roads.
By Cheryl Dowden; Images courtesy of HSVPOA and Joe Dowden
CONTACT INFORMATION FOR PUBLIC SERVICES DIRECTOR
Director Public Services
Hot Springs Village
From my observations since I moved to the Village several years ago, these clayey soils appear to be very common here – and in many areas throughout the Ouachitas for that matter. I think Mr. Unger is correct in that other slides are likely in the future where there is no cover on steeper slopes with this soil.