Caltrans Warns That Estimate of Reopening 101 on Wednesday Isn’t Likely to Happen

Closeup of slide blocking Hwy 101. [Photo by Don Sisk]

Caltrans District 1’s Facebook post this morning warns that Hwy 101 is unlikely to open at Bridges Creek north of Leggett for several more days. They say,

The slide is still very active as of this morning, preventing crews from safely working to remove debris. Even if workers are able to begin removal operations today, more rain is forecast tomorrow, which may cause the slide to become active again.
At this point, there is no estimated time to reopening. While we’d like to remain optimistic, we’d encourage you to plan on including detours to Interstate 5 in your travel plans for the next few days. We’ll update regularly as we get more information.

Material from the slide crushing the fence around the slide. [Photo by Stephen Tosten]

See the large amount of rocks still ready to come down? [Photo by a reader]

The stoplight at the slide. [Photo by Stephen Tosten]

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50 comments

  • Dynamite it , gets rid of falling rock , then able to clean up road, any questions, why do we need to make it so complicated, oh yeah , not good environmentally, but better to burn twice the fossil fuel going detour, and would eliminate many caltrans engineers jobs

    • If you have all the answers Lone Ranger maybe you should get a job with CAL TRANs instead of trolling and leaving snippy remarks

      • I count seven starring on this side ,and probably seven more on the other , yep its a slide, yep I seen a rock move , and another and there’s another lmao

    • Uhhhh. I’m not 100% sure you know what you’re talking about, homie.

    • Can’t do that: it’ll all end up in the river, and then you got a whole different kind of terrible thing to fix. Plus, ya know, sediment clogging the river, too.

    • 1/2 day work for any Humboldtian with a dozer. But Trans don’t get paid for quantity of work, only to get plenty of years into retirement smelling the gas tax.

      • All Knowing All Typing

        Uncontrolled dynamite from original road clearing is what destroyed the bedrock and resulted in these slide prone areas. Dozers only work if there isn’t material redeposited every time you move it. But obviously you are all engineers and scientists, so you already know everything.

    • You can’t use explosives with a mud slide. Lone Ranger it’s better for you to not say anything and be thought a fool instead of leaving us know doubt.

      • Maybe instead of caltrans sitting around looking at slide , they should help the county out and fix Bell Springs Rd , or is that too much red tape to ask for, So mr Lance , how come everyone refers to the slide as a rock slide , thats what I thought, “still see large amounts of rock waiting to come down”

  • Kym, is Bell Springs Road still closed? What about Hwy. 36? Thanks for the update.

    • Bell Springs is open BUT CHP highly recommends that only locals travel it. It is in bad shape. Hwy 36 is tight and curvy and overcrowded now BUT probably the best option.

      • THere is a 1 way controlled traffic location I’m aware of, on Hwy 36, just West of Grizzly Creek Park!!! Anything further up past Bridgeville, I have no idea whether or not there are any other issues etc!!!

      • 36 is not that bad. A lot of it has been clear cut for the construction which makes it easier to see around the blind corners on the one way, slow down, drive smart, and you’ll have no problem.

      • 36 is better than 299? What is the slide condition of 299 now?

        • I have no idea of the condition of Hwy 299 all I can say is about what little I know about Hwy 36!!! a far as afety facors I would tak 299 over 36!!! 299 has been improved while 36 is still very narrow as well as very winding, with some nasty tight switchback curves!!!

          • I just traveled 299 and it’s fine. At the slide it’s only open on the hour and there are some stops for road work but it’s not so bad.

        • 299 is in better condition but the delays sometimes mean that for folks from Fortuna to SoHum it is a better drive on 36. Here’s the hours 299 is open: Monday through Saturday the road [Hwy 299 at Big French Creek] will be open between 0600 hrs and 1800 hrs every hour on the hour and from 1800 hrs to 0600 hrs with one hour delays. Sunday the road will be open from 0600 hrs to 0600 hrs on Monday with up to 30 minute delays.

          • Thank you so much for this information. How far is the slide on 299 from 101? How much time? It would be nice to arrive sometime around 5 minutes before they open the road on the hour.

          • Does this mean that it is open from 6 pm to 6 am (with delays) Mom-Sat to get through from Arcata to Redding? Or do they work on it at night and close to traffic? Can’t tell from caltrans description. Thanks for any local info.

            • Here’s the hours 299 is open: Monday through Saturday the road [Hwy 299 at Big French Creek] will be open between 0600 hrs and 1800 hrs every hour on the hour and from 1800 hrs to 0600 hrs with one hour delays. Sunday the road will be open from 0600 hrs to 0600 hrs on Monday with up to 30 minute delays.

              Basically, be prepared for one-hour delays.

      • 299 is good too

    • I took 36 yesterday to Eureka and it was an absolute nightmare. The road has many spots with big cracks in it, no one know how to drive it so are all over the place, big boulders in the road. I took 299 back, and it seemed better even with the 2 traffic stops. It was after 5, though, so the traffic wasn’t as bad. It was all a huge nightmare.

  • Confusion Hill, Jr.

  • Please drive safely. Looks like they need a different approach!! Someone already said,blow more of the mountain,might work.

  • We should drop a MOAB on that hillside and just start over…

  • I drove 36 yesterday over to hayfork turn off (I’m a local of Carlotta) and it was insane! People drive like idiots because they aren’t use to the road, I was car 9 in a line of 26 so be safe out people!

  • Harold murrish's ghost

    Time to call in Billy billionaire with his blue backhoe bustsome stuff up tear some stuff down build it back up all the way from the ground

  • Blow it up then push it out of the way to allow one lane to operate while you dispose of the rest of the material simple fix then build a tall fence then put gravel next to the fence to keep the force when it happens again from breaking you’re barrier I could do that where you could solve this problem

  • Wow so many armchair engineers and geologists commenting. Theres no room to blow it, push it aside and open one lane. Its mountain, 2 lanes and a drop off. If they could push it out of the way they would have already.

    Blowing up the mountain is not going to help anything besides potentially creating a situation like the slide on the 299. The blue goo has made that slide incredibly challenging. Theres no bedrock to grab the muddy river of blue goo. This could easily happen at this spot on the 101.
    Besides that, an explosion of that size could result in creating more landslides. If blowing it up was gonna work, you bet cal trans would do it. Plus sending more of the mountain down into the river creates multiple issues, especially in a silt ridden river like the Eel.

    Kym, it would be interesting to hear from a geologist about the intricacies of our substrates here, and why its hard to mitigate these landslides.

    • Hey Bob here is a thought, water causes slide , someone above has diverted water for the last few years because of drought , now with a wet year that diverted water has caused a slide , hilarious

  • Hi,
    I need to get from Twin Peaks to Garberville can I take Bell Springs Road? (I have a 4×4 Toyota 4Runner)
    Thanks!

    • A person who just came through said it was fine, but that’s because he’s a local and is used to bad roads.

  • Tim the Toolman Taylor probably could invent a super ShopVac for that.

  • I just talked to the mail truck driver and he pretty much confirmed status of slide as “active” and that they haven’t started working on it as they aren’t letting anyone near it.

  • I need to get to crescent city from San Francisco

  • Missing my girlfriend on the other side of the slide

    So the bottom line is this slide is still active with rain on the way? Probably may be closed for a while…boo
    Thanks for the Bell Springs Rd and 36 info everyone

  • take all that rock up bell springs and fill all those pot holes that have got worse from all the extra traffic

  • Geology info:

    All rocks are trying to get to the bottom of the ocean by the force of gravity. Sometimes they get help from water and air, but these big slides are called “mass wasting,” very appropriate for almost “4/20” in Humboldt.

    But seriously, when loose or “unconsolidated” material (like the rocks and soil of these slides) is resting… it has what is called the “angle of repose”… a unique angle for each geomaterial – affected by saturation (how fully filled the cavities in between the rocks and soil are with water). The more water, the easier it all slidesdown. And once the friction that was holding the stuff together before the fall is lost, the pieces continue to move until they arrive at a new angle of repose.

  • Piercy residents have been told “Mail will deliver when the road opens.” Really? And that will be ….

  • We took the 36 in the daylight and it was fine, other Than a few slow moving city cars. Drive carefully and you’ll be fine. Night time is probably more dangerous, esp in rain. If you’re not familiar with 36 or ,299 or bell springs take them in daylight. Be ready to slow down for Flatlanders though.

  • When the “f” are the citizens on sf north going to be able to drive on 299 101 north of leggett and crescent city. Blow the first in trees up people first

  • A Wary Traveler

    Just to clarify ~ Is Bell Springs Road an option or just open to locals?
    How “bad” is the road?
    ( Coming from Sonoma County, I want to get to Humboldt State U. Usually just going up 101.
    So now it looks like 5 to 299 is the best option? ~ and now I hear there’s a slide on 299 too? ! )

    So, Is Bell Springs Road a safe option? and again, what type of road are we talking about here? (I’ve driven across country a few times, so I will be careful, without slowing down the traffic …I promise!)

    Thank you very much for any info.
    Signed, A wary traveler… (Might be weary traveler after this trip…)

    • Reportedly CHP is sometimes turning back travelers and there are signs that say locals only on Bell Springs Road. That said people who know country roads and that means potholes, dropoffs, one lane dirt can probably handle this road but if you have any doubts, for heaven’s sake don’t do it. There’s an expensive tow bill in your future not to mention car repairs.
      299 is actually a lovely drive. There are a couple of places where construction is happening but the longest you will wait is about an hour. Just plan plenty of time to drive responsibly and enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery you’ve ever passed through.

  • Thank You Kym! 299 it is! I appreciate your responding.

    I am then taking 101 up to Florence, Oregon then the 126 to Eugene. Looking forward to the scenery and wildflowers. Hopefully, 126 is without any slides!

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