California

Detour around Highway 299 rock slide to open briefly Tuesday for locals

Watch massive rockslide that closed Highway 299 in Northern California

Bystander Kevin Erwin caught the landslide above Highway 299 Monday on video. The road will remain closed until about Dec. 21, Caltrans said.
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Bystander Kevin Erwin caught the landslide above Highway 299 Monday on video. The road will remain closed until about Dec. 21, Caltrans said.

Local residents will have brief opportunities Tuesday to go around a rock slide that has closed Highway 299 in far northern California since Dec. 12.

A temporary detour around the 100,000 cubic yards of rock and debris in the roadway west of Weaverville, in Trinity County, will open Tuesday from 6:30 to 8 a.m. and from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Only local traffic will be allowed through, said Trisha Coder, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation.

Highway 299 is the major east-west route across the top of the state.

On Dec. 12, a steep hillside 28 miles west of Weaverville slid onto the road, dumping rocks as big as a small houses and enough material to fill 5,500 dump trucks.

Since then rain has been almost continuous, thwarting the efforts of construction crews to complete an alternative route, 350 feet long, adjacent to the existing roadway along the Trinity River.

“The slide is very active, and when we get heavy rainfall it just comes down (more),” Coder said.

This week's openings are the first since the morning of Jan. 18, when debris moving down the hillside forced Caltrans to cancel the opening planned for that afternoon.

In addition to the temporary detour, Caltrans crews are working to stabilize the hill for an eventual permanent opening of Highway 299. That is expected sometime this summer, Coder said.

Meanwhile, the department hopes to have a temporary detour open to one-way traffic in mid-February, she said.

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