Highway 50 slide cleared
The California Department of Transportation reopened U.S. Highway 50 early Wednesday, after a minor landslide forced the closure of the highway that was shut down for weeks last winter for extensive repairs.
Compared to last year’s devastating landslide, which deposited debris 50 feet deep over a quarter-mile stretch of the highway, Tuesday’s slide was no more than a temporary inconvenience. Rocks and mud oozed onto the roadway west of the location of last year’s landslide and was unrelated to it, said Pat Miller, a Caltrans spokeswoman.
“It was not in the same area,” Miller said of Tuesday’s slide, which occurred two miles east of Riverton. She added that monitoring equipment installed during repairs last winter showed no problems at the old landslide site, which was excavated and fitted with a subsurface drainage system. “That’s good news,” Miller said.
Caltrans closed the highway at 2:30 p.m. Friday, after slashing rains sent a flow of debris over 4 feet of the westbound lane. Transportation officials called in a contractor, Doug Veerkamp of Placerville, to remove soil loosened in the slide.
By 1:36 a.m. Wednesday, when Caltrans opened the highway’s eastbound lane, the contractor had removed 750 cubic yards of debris, enough to fill 75 to 100 dump trucks. The westbound lane was reopened at 1:45 a.m.
Compared to repairs last year after two larger slides closed the highway for weeks at a time, Tuesday’s repairs were relatively minor. Last year, Caltrans removed 300,000 cubic yards of soil and debris from the highway.
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