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January 22, 2012 at 4:27 PM

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Mudslide will close major Bellevue commuting road for days

A Sunday morning mudslide, joined by a water main and gas leak, took out what firefighters could only describe as a lot of cubic yards of mud directly below West Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast.

The major commuting road will be closed -- likely for days -- for local access only between Northeast 2nd Place at Northup and Southeast 26nd Street while City of Bellevue soil engineers work to fix the slide. Mud entered three homes, while another was threatened. Thirty homes lacked water.

Directly below the slide, a garage was filled with mud, and a car, barely visible, sat smashed against the ceiling.

Rick Crinzi, who lives in the 500 block of West Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast, said he dialed 911 Sunday.

"There was a huge crash, and all of a sudden you could see all the mud come sliding down," he said. "The gas line was flailing around like a snake."

As rain continued to fall Sunday afternoon, Puget Sound Energy was working to turn off the gas to the minor line, which serves two homes. Mike Jackman, deputy director of utilities for the City of Bellevue, said it was too soon to tell whether the water main caused the break or saturated mud from days of snow, rain and sleet were to blame.

"To clean up the slide, there's a lot of work to do," he said. "We're just getting started."

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