Dean Creek Slide

Heavy rains caused a lane closure on the northbound side of Hwy 101 at the Dean Creek Slide yesterday.  After last years devastating road closure, the Southern Humboldt community was understandably nervous. But Caltrans maintenance has a crew at the site and Butch Crawford, the Maintenance Superintendent for the area (pictured center above) was reassuring. He and Randy Jurrens (on the right) were confident that the slide was holding.

In fact Caltrans’ District Hydraulics Engineer, Sebastian Cohen, said that anytime a big slide comes in and construction moves land around to protect the roads, it is impossible to predict with complete accuracy where springs will start pumping out once a sustained rainfall occurs. In this case, one of the springs is coming out the face of the slide. He explained, “It is not like the landslide is failing. The face is essentially melting on top…[but] there is rock not too far under the surface….There is no major movement though.” 

He adds that the k-rail is there to protect the traffic as there has been some debris falling but there is no expectation of a major issue.  On Monday, Caltrans expects to make “some adjustments to drainage,” Cohen says.  And they plan to place jute nets (essentially large mats) on the steep surface.  This will protect the face of the slide from impact erosion caused by rainfall.

Heavy rains are expected throughout the weekend with lighter showers into next week.





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