[UPDATE Cancelled] Caltrans to Open 299 Twice a Day to Locals

Slide at Big French Creek

Slide at Big French Creek [Photos from Caltrans]

According to Caltrans District 2’s Facebook page,

Caltrans and Contractor Steve Manning are working around the clock to open the temporary detour on State Route 299w at Big French Creek Road. Caltrans realizes this has been a difficult time for local residents impacted by the closure. As such, Caltrans will allow the road to be opened to LOCAL RESIDENTS ONLY from 6:30 a.m.-8:00 a.m. and from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily.

It is imperative that motorists understand this road is SUBJECT TO CLOSURE by Caltrans and the Contractor AT ANY TIME. Spotters will be on site monitoring slide conditions. Motorists will only be allowed through if it is safe. Be prepared to wait or to be turned around if necessary. The Public Information Office will provide updates on the status of the road on our hotline at (530) 225-3452, and on Twitter @CaltransD2. We appreciate your patience and will do all we can to get you where you need to go safely and efficiently.

Slide at Big French Creek

UPDATE WEdnesday: Caltrans reports, “Route 299 at Big French Creek will NOT reopen at 4:30 this afternoon for local traffic due to severe weather at the project site.”



  • Wow! That is a bigly slide. It’s yuge. Really, really yuge.

  • I suspect that the slide area is an ancient fault; the line of contact between 2 blocks of earth’s crust being pushed around by tectonic forces. The material along the fault has been ground up finely and the blocks slipped past each other, and has very little strength, which is why it keeps sliding. Any geologists out there, please correct my assumptions as needed.

    • A more likely cause, I think, since it’s a well-known condition, is that there is a layer of clay under the soil in much of Nor Cal and perhaps on that mountain. And when clay gets wet it can be slippery. A lot of the slides we get are caused by that….the rain penetrates down to the clay layer through maybe 12-18″ of soil, it gets wet and slick and down the hillside the soil comes.

      • It was stable for many years, though, until repeated arson fires in that area, followed by lightning fires, burned off all the ground cover…after all the logs, grass, and vegetation was gone off there, the winter rains just slicked it off to bare soil, and…this.

        • What arson fires?

          It burned in 2008 and 2015.

          • This area did not burn in 2008 or 2015. This chunk of land has only burned in 2004 (Loma Fire) in recent history. The fire was human caused, not lightning.

            • Not arson.

              Both 08 and 15 burned into French Creek. I do not know how close to the highway the fires came.

              • You are correct that lightning (non arson) fires burned into the French Creek drainage in 2008 and 2015. However neither fire reached the area where the slide is. In 2008 the Buckhorn Fire which was part of the Iron Complex was held to the east side of French Creek (slide is on the west side). In 2015 the River Complex fire was checked over a mile away from the slide to the north. The burned vegetation you see in the photos are from the Loma fire in 2004, which was human caused.

                • Ok. Thanks.

                  I thought the Iron fire burned into the west side of that drainage as well, but I could not find any maps showing that.

  • Great pictures, that’s going to take some time, on a big scale

  • Locals only? I could be wrong, but I suspect folks running between Arcata and Redding will be lined up for the opening times. Problem is if they can’t get through, they will be very tempted to chance it on the forest roads.

    • Honeydew Bridge Chump

      Arcata to Redding?

      They can run their weed out 36 and there’s an Arco right there on the access road to the 5.

      • Redding? I just put my weeds in my trash can…

      • sharpen your pencil

        Yes, because everyone who drives from humboldt to redding is doing it solely to move weed. You’re assumptions are beyond misguided, border line dillusional would be more adequate!

  • Will they be checking ID’s to verify if someone is local or not? Will the nots be denied passage? Either way I’m just glad to see they’re trying to get people through.

    • the misadventures of bunjee

      I’d be wondering how someone with a trailer from Fresno is going to turn around. Yeah, it’s pretty vague on how they define “locals”.

  • Im sure if you pay a fine tip or fee the troll will give you a pass

  • Wholly crap that’s a big mess!!I hope they can fix it.im sure more is on the way with more rain and snow.please travel safely take extra precautions and blankets,socks,water,flares,flashlite,matchs.food.im still a girlscout! MOTHER nature seems a little pissed be SAFE ALL

  • Cam you build a bridge for $14 million? Two bridges or one long one across the ox bow in the river. That was the solution in Salyer for the same reason.

  • By saying ‘locals only’ they may be setting it up to refuse all the out of the area trucking that would usually use 299. If the truck has a company name from some place other than Redding or nearby (i.e., Sacramento, etc) they’ll be turned around.
    I wonder how UPS, USPS, FedEx, etc have been dispatching their trucks…

    Caltrans (or whoever will monitor the traffic) will probably not look favorably on RVs or such.
    With one way traffic it’s going to be slow anyway and with the time limit they will probably have already estimated how many they can let through in the mornings and afternoons…and probably have a lead vehicle to escort them through…
    I’m sure there’s many who can remember being in one of those lines.
    Think kind thoughts about everyone involved in the work on this monster…and if you’re the praying sort, say a few for their safety.

    • Lots of prayers.that land is so unstable.since I was a little girl I’ve traveled the old 299 rocks and slides happen back then too.with all the new storms coming it’s going to get dangerous.PRAYERS

    • the misadventures of bunjee

      FedEx and UPS have either been coming up from the south or down 199 to here, depending on where they re-route packages from. I’ve drove both since the slide, and it seems to be about even. Any trucker trying 36 is just a moron.

  • Wondering scientifically if the slide was ocurring naturally without intervention would it have blocked the rivers flow?

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