Section of Old Town developer’s retaining wall failing |

Section of Old Town developer’s retaining wall failing

A section of a retaining wall built in anticipation of an Old Town project failed in recent months, with the section sticking out sharply from the rest of the wall and the developer cautioning people not to approach the spot.

The retaining wall is situated alongside a road that will eventually serve a development known as Echo Spur on Rossi Hill. The site occupies a tucked-away location close to streets like Rossi Hill Drive and McHenry Avenue, and it is visible only from a few vantages.

Connie Bilbrey, the developer and one of the owners of Echo Spur on Rossi Hill, estimated an approximately 100-foot stretch of the retaining wall is affected. Of that stretch, between 30 and 35 feet of the wall have failed, he said. The retaining wall is approximately 250 feet long.

Bilbrey said problems started several months ago, but the developers are unsure what caused the section of the wall to fail. He said orange safety fencing was installed afterward to cordon off the part of the wall. No trespassing signs have also been posted.

"Stuff happens on a construction job all the time," Bilbrey said.

He said the problem with the retaining wall will not affect the timeline of the project. He has said construction of the houses could begin as early as June. The development entails 12 home sites, and Bilbrey envisions the houses being between 2,000 and 2,200 square feet each.

The Park City Planning Commission recently briefly discussed Echo Spur, touching on the lots within the development. The panel did not discuss the retaining wall in detail during the meeting.

City Hall, though, is closely monitoring the retaining wall. Under an agreement with the developer, the road that is beside the retaining wall and the wall itself eventually will be turned over to City Hall.

Matt Cassel, the city engineer, said City Hall has not yet accepted the road or the retaining wall. The road will someday be part of the municipal street system.

Cassel said City Hall has hired a structural engineer to investigate the retaining wall and recommend a fix. The city engineer said City Hall will require the developer to fix the wall before the local government accepts the road and the retaining wall. He expects the structural engineer will issue a report by the beginning of June.

"It’s to the point parts of the wall have to come down and be reinstalled," Cassel said.

He said there is not a danger of the wall collapsing, though.

Retaining walls are common in places around Park City where streets or developments are built alongside steep terrain, with the most notable being the major wall on the side of Deer Valley Drive between Bonanza Drive and the Old Town roundabout. There are smaller ones in numerous other locations.

The Echo Spur developers have spent a year tangling with City Hall and people who live nearby. Cassel in 2009 ordered construction halted on a section of the road, claiming that the site was in terrible condition. One of the people who lives close to Echo Spur at the time complained that the site was ugly and dirty.

early this spring, the developer said lots of progress had been made over the winter. Bilbrey said then his crews spent 10 months on retaining walls, water lines, sewer lines, curbs, gutters, sidewalks and the street. At that time he said the property "looks really, really nice."

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