Engineers in charge of a road building project in Harrison Hot Springs said a heavy machine tipped over due to an operator error.
The slope is not unstable, a representative of Burch Engineering asserted on Saturday morning while surveying the site. On Friday at about 2 p.m., an excavator that was clearing debris above the intended roadway toppled over on its side. It did not slide down the hillside, but laid there for several days. A crane was set up on Monday night, and the excavator was removed by Wednesday morning.
The operator of the excavator was not seriously injured in the incident, and the company in charge of the project hired flaggers to watch over the site and direct traffic over the weekend.
The new road is intended to begin at the very east end of Lillooet Avenue, rise up at a 12% grade, and carry along Rockwell Drive to a site where a developer is planning to build homes. Mayor Leo Facio explained it is intended to be an exploratory road so the owner of the property can plan to build.
Burch Engineering stated that the site was “extremely safe” and that the slope has no instability.
The fact the machinery did not fall down the hill when toppled shows the stability of the slope, they underlined. They also said there is a preliminary land use agreement in place with the owner of the property.
On Saturday, work continued on a more level section of the road with a second excavator.
Land use changes
The land is owned by Willmark Homes, a Kingma-owned company. The land was part of much discussion in during the spring of 2013. A public hearing for an OCP amendment relating to the strip of land along Rockwell Drive was held on April 15, 2013 to move the land from resource reserve zoning to low density. Dozens of people showed up for the hearing.
The plan to rezone the land received a third reading later that night and was set for adoption. Adoption of the amendment of the OCP was placed on the consent agenda for the following meeting, May 6. The consent agenda was approved unanimously, however according to minutes available online at the Village website, both Coun. Sonja Reyerse and Coun. Allan Jackson were absent that evening.
Harrison’s CAO Ian Crane said the owner has a development permit in place with the Village.