Well, they had their number and they’re sticking to it.

UPDATE, 10:40 a.m.: Caltrans’ Ann Jones confirms to KHUM’s Mike Dronkers that they’re planning to open the road for 12 hours at a time starting Monday if everything cooperates. “This is all weather-dependent,” she said. “We have to hope the dry weather continues.”

Motorists should be prepared for one-hour delays, though when pressed she said that she had reason to hope that waits wouldn’t be quite so long. In any case, it will be controlled traffic and motorists should feel confident that there will be no danger to drivers. “We don’t take any chances with safety,” Jones said.

She said that today’s slide on 299 is being dealt with, and confirmed that that highway is open to one-way controlled traffic.

UPDATE, 11:10 a.m.: Caltrans engineer Sebastian Jones Cohen tells KHUM’s Mike Dronkers that the roadbed itself is in good shape. (This contradicts early information that came from the California Highway Patrol the day of the slide.) Will this site be a recurring problem, Dronkers asks? Cohen says that there have been problems around this area, but there’s no indication that it’ll be “the next Confusion Hill.” 

The fiber-optic company has been on-site to “relieve some tension” on the line, Cohen said. The line — which we can now confirm, for the first time, is under the slide (apart from excavato’s comment: thanks!) — is buried some 10 to 30 feet beneath the road, and probably would have snapped if it had been buried less deep. Audio:


Press release:

Caltrans has announced that Route 101 in Southern Humboldt County remains closed due to a large mudslide approximately one mile north of Dean Creek, approximately 60 miles south of Eureka. Crews are currently working 24 hours a day to clear the slide as soon as possible.

On Monday, April 4, from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM, the road will be open to one-way controlled traffic. At that time, motorists should expect delays of up to one hour. All work is weather dependent. Caltrans will issue another update by noon on Monday, April 4.

The alternate route for motorists is Interstate 5, which can be reached north of the slide from Routes 36 or 299 and south of the slide by Route 20. For the most current road information on all State highways, please call 1-800-427-7623 (1-800-GAS-ROAD) or visit www.dot.ca.gov.