Big rock closes highway |

Big rock closes highway

A boulder half the size of a school bus fell on U.S. Highway 50 at Echo Summit on Wednesday around 4 p.m., along with other rocks, dirt, trees and snow, according to California Highway Patrol and Department of Transportation officials.

The slide closed the road in one direction for six hours, during which time Caltrans opened an alternate route for motorists over the old Meyers Grade.

No one was hurt, and no vehicles were involved, said Vicki Merkh, a California Highway Patrol spokeswoman.

Dale Ten Broech, California Department of Transportation district division chief for maintenance, estimated it would take four hours to clean up the debris and open the road.

Because the boulder was too large to be scooped up by a loader, Caltrans had to drill holes in it and blow it up, he said.

Slides like the one Wednesday are not surprising, Ten Broech said.

“It’s not rare at all,” he added.”It doesn’t happen all that often because the hill there is pretty stable, but there have been a number of slides there over the years.”

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Still no timetable for reopening of US 50


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