[UPDATE 8:45 a.m.] 299 to Remain Closed Today, Says Caltrans

slide on State Route 299

The slide at Big French Creek [Photo from Caltrans]

A slide at Big French’s Creek on Hwy 299 between Arcata and Redding continues to block the major west to east access route. Caltrans tweeted today, “…299 west of Weaverville will remain CLOSED today due to slide. Watch for updates.”

The closure occurred 4.5 miles west of Big Bar at an area where one way traffic has been in place.

UPDATE 8:45 a.m.: Caltrans Facebook page reports as of 8:45 a.m., “Route 299 is expected to remain closed throughout the day Wednesday. Another overnight closure is possible, but we’ll know more this afternoon.”

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10 comments

  • Wholly crap.thats a good sized slide.i have a feeling there’s lots more to come.please drive safe all.its a slick morning.

  • Confusing. The highway info sign on 101 just south of highway 36 said “1 hour delays” for 299 yesterday. Was that true then but just changed now? Or was that erroneous?

  • Life behind the Redwood Curtain continues . . .

  • david joseph walter

    if your a auto or small truck you can take road in burnt ranch and come out in big bar missing whole slide

  • I lived in Burnt Ranch and worked in Willow Creek when a slide closed 299 just west of Hawkins Bar. First is was the open & close then as the hillside kept coming down other options were made to keep the road open but it never got better.
    Then the highway was closed completely. USFS roads ( Underwood Mt or up and over via
    Groves Prairie) were used but only a viable option if you were well prepared (no flatland drivers, no bald tires, no low bottom clearance cars, etc) and knew there wasn’t a tow truck
    to help you out if you got stuck.
    The problem with such a slide–and in seeing the photos of this latest slide–is that everytime the earth moves it exposes springs which then lubricate the soil around them so there’s slippage and slides. And the hillside would move quickly, without warning. Bill Councilman (a much loved local man in the area) was on a piece of heavy equipment when a new slide swept them over the side. It brought the absolute danger of the slide and why controls were necessary and why the problem wasn’t going to go away any time soon.
    Ultimately Caltrans recognized that that hillside could not be stabilized so the highway was to be diverted to the opposite bank of the Trinity River and then back to the main road. I don’t know how long that process took but it was years.

    The last time Google maps came through the area was 2012 but if you use the ‘drive’ function from Denny Road & Hiway 299 west, and look to the left, you’ll see the still active slide car on the side of the mountain.

    While Caltrans is currently only talking about road closures on the current slide given the long history of slides, the geology and the long fight to keep the roads open in the area, I imagine there’s already Caltrans officials coming (if not already there) to see the worst and best scenario.
    The recent heavy rains will have loosened more earth and since the area is a mix of large boulders, smaller boulders, stones and what, when wet, I’d call muck.
    So don’t sit around waiting for it to fully open any time soon. Caltrans knows you have places to go but they also won’t risk human lives to try to get the job done more quickly.

    On a side note, this is part of the area that the study to put a railroad from the valley to Humboldt Bay would have to go through. There may be solid rock in the mountains but not enough to anchor anything like a railroad. And to think of tunneling in the area…talk to some of the old miners or read their accounts.
    For info (I think Kym provided this before: http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov/

    Be safe

  • Good info. But is your nick name gabby.

  • I was hoping no one would mention Burnt Ranch! I was pushed into the cut bank and rock fall 4 times yesterday while heading to my work site in my FS truck by speeders and sloppy drivers. Also, a 5th wheel trailer, which has no business on that road, almost side swiped me as I was stopping for them. PLEASE slow down and turn on your freakin’ lights. Thank you.

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