101 Is Open! Traffic Is Moving Through the Slide Area

Heavy equipment working

Heavy equipment working on the slide to open Hwy 101. [Photo from Caltrans]

Since roughly 5:30 p.m. traffic has been flowing on Hwy 101. Caltrans began predicting that the major highway would reopen this evening only yesterday. Earlier estimates were for later in the week. But, according to Phil Frisbie, Public Information Officer for Caltrans District 1, “Traffic is flowing.”  Our contractors have continued to make tremendous headway towards restoring U.S. Highway 101 north of Leggett in Mendocino County to one-way controlled traffic.

He warns that the road is only one way controlled traffic so expect delays. In addition, the contractors will still continue to work on the slide. “We’re still going to be out there for a few months,” he said.

Caltrans District 1 announced the open Hwy on 101 and asked travelers to “[p]lease follow flagger instructions. Spotters will be watching the hillside 24/7 for rockfall and will alert the flaggers to briefly stop traffic as needed.”

A Caltrans Facebook post from earlier today describes some of the extraordinary methods for clearing the slide that the contractor has used. It says,

[A] spider excavator was airlifted to a point above the slope escarpment this afternoon and will work to remove sediment and other debris from the top of the slide. Spider excavators are used to tackle jobs on remarkably difficult terrain, and the subcontractor we’re working with specializes in this kind of work.

This equipment which is lifted by helicopter will continue to work in the area for some time.

Be prepared for some delays. But, hallelujah, 101 is open now!

Reader Alysha Valier sent us this video of the helicopter that has been lifting the spider excavator and speeding up the opening of the road.

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