Highway 50 is riddled with mudslides and will be ‘closed indefinitely’

Highway 50 will remain “closed indefinitely” as crews slog their way through clearing three major mudslides across a 12-mile stretch, as well as several smaller, active mudslides, according to Caltrans.

The highway is closed in both directions between Pollock Pines and Strawberry in El Dorado County.

The main route between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe has been closed since Friday due to mudslides. Caltrans initially said the road would reopen Sunday, but additional mudslides have blocked the highway.

The first mudslide occurred near Sand Flat around 5:30 p.m. Friday, covering all four lanes of traffic, according to Caltrans.

A second mudslide between Whitehall and Kyburz occurred Saturday afternoon. Though it is smaller than the initial mudslide, crews are facing more difficulty clearing it because the slope is steep, Caltrans said.

The third mudslide also occurred Saturday afternoon two miles east of Kyburz, Caltrans said. That one is about 400 feet long.

“The slope is a mix of sand and boulders with little cohesion,” Caltrans said in a release. “This area of the highway will remain closed at least through Monday night and potentially longer.”

Caltrans has advised motorists to use an alternative route. Local residents with proper identification will be allowed access from west Highway 50. There is no access from eastbound Highway 50.

The region is still recovering from last week’s series of warm storms that melted snow and sent a torrent of water and debris down hillsides. A huge mudslide near Baxter shut down Interstate 80 on Friday, but that freeway reopened hours later eastbound and then in both directions Saturday.

The same section of Interstate 80 suffered another mudslide on Monday that reduced traffic to one lane westbound.

Cathy Locke contributed to this report.

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews