UPDATE Jan. 12, 2022: City of Burien staff are still evaluating the landslide on SW 172nd Street near Sylvester Road, and are developing a plan to safely clear the road, which is still blocked after five days.

As we previously reported, the landslide covered around half of the road, and took out a backyard and deck of a house above on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022.

“We are all fine,” homeowner Jill Esau told The B-Town Blog. “The house has no damage, and engineers don’t think the structures are threatened. Just hope the rain stops soon. I have no info on road opening.”

On Wednesday morning (Jan. 12, 2022), King County Fire District No. 2 Chief Mike Marrs was seen on site, checking to see if a fire truck could squeeze past the closed part of the road (it can). Also, former Burien City Councilmember and nearby resident Nancy Tosta was there, checking things out.

It is expected that the road will remain closed for at least a few more days, and the city is asking for patience.

“We understand that community members are frustrated,” the city said. “We are working diligently to develop a plan to safely clear the road.”

The city adds that the process to clear a landslide all depends on geotechnical assessment and evaluation, which is still ongoing.

“There are a lot of safety measures that have to be put in place before and during the construction process,” the city said. “Another factor that is affecting the timeline is that there are landslides throughout the region and that is making it more difficult to secure supplies and professional staff. There have also been supply chain issues with concrete.”

City staff are currently developing a temporary solution that would allow them to open the road, including having the city manager issue an executive order allowing them to expedite the procurement processes. The plan also includes securing materials, finding a contractor to do the work, developing a geotechnical and engineering design, and communicating and coordinating with the property owner, among other activities.

Local traffic needs to detour around this area to reach the Three Tree Point neighborhood below, which can confuse those not familiar with the area. Residents need to know that visitors navigating with GPS and map apps will need help, resident Gail Broder advises.

“The GPS apps all direct you to take Sylvester Road SW,” Broder said. “Even when you are at a business along SW 152nd Street, map programs will try to bring you back to Sylvester. I’ve had two people who were unable to get to my house, because they just didn’t know the area and didn’t have the info to get to Maplewild, which might have triggered the apps to recalculate the directions.”

Below are photos taken from the scene Wednesday morning by Scott Schaefer:

A nearby resident drove their truck past the road closed signs on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022.
The landslide was still blocking SW 172nd Street near Sylvester Road SW in Burien Wednesday morning, Jan, 12, 2022.
A large portion of the hill above slid down onto SW 172nd Street on Jan. 7, 2022, taking with it most of the backyard and deck of the Esau residence above.
A shed and the rear portion of the house above sit precariously.

The Esaus can be seen checking out the damage from what’s left from their deck.

Burien/Normandy Park Fire Chief Mike Marrs checked out the landslide on Wednesday morning.
Yellow marks on map indicate where road is closed due to the landslide.

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