State routes were closed Wednesday due to weather-related traffic hazards, such as fallen trees, in the Santa Cruz Mountains. (CHP Santa Cruz)

About 17,000 Pacific Gas and Electric Co. customers across the county were out of power on Wednesday as Department of Transportation (Caltrans) crews worked to clean up the mess of wires rendered like spaghetti by downed trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

A number of problems also plagued Highway 9.

It was closed from Scenic Drive to Woodland Drive in Ben Lomond because of one such fallen tree, from Bear Creek Road in Boulder Creek to the junction with SR 236 (due to fallen trees), as well as from 7.6 miles north of Santa Cruz at Lower Glen Arbor Road to 8 miles north of Santa Cruz at Arboleda Way due to landslides.

In addition, “the nine” remained closed from 3 miles north of the junction of SR 35 at Redwood Gulch Road to a little less than a mile south of Saratoga at Saratoga Springs due to mudslides.

By 3pm Wednesday, PG&E said 16,105 customers were still without service, but 14,015 customers’ power had been restored.

“Based on completed assessments so far, it is projected that approximately 85% of the original customers impacted will be energized by the end of today, March 22,” a spokesperson said. “In the Santa Cruz Mountain areas, trees across roadways are currently being cleared to allow PG&E access to damaged locations.”

The power company was advising customers that urban and suburban areas tend to have their lights back on faster due to more power-routing options.

Fifth District Supervisor Bruce McPherson told constituents in an email blast Wednesday that electricity and roads officials had told him they were working as hard as they could to clean up the mess left by Mother Nature.

“Caltrans and PG&E assured my office this morning that their crews are working in tandem to clear the enormous amount of downed wires and trees throughout the San Lorenzo Valley in an effort to restore power and reopen roadways following the cyclone-like wind and rain that pelted the County on Tuesday,” he said. “After speaking with our Valley fire chiefs this morning, the biggest message we can get out there collectively is to respect the road closures, as challenging as they may be, for everyone’s safety.”

Metro is providing 200 free passes to riders affected by recent storms, as well as 72 additional passes to community organizations. The passes are good for 15 days of free rides on any route in Santa Cruz County.

The County’s Office of Response, Recovery, and Resilience (OR3) is asking residents to provide information about storm damage in a bid to get another Federal Disaster Declaration for Santa Cruz County.

The data is collected anonymously unless residents choose to provide contact information and the survey is available in both English and Spanish.

On Wednesday at 2:15pm, the National Weather Service was warning about the possibility of “minor coastal flooding” around the Bay Area, with cold temperatures predicted to last into the weekend.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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