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The 2,000-foot slide began creeping onto the road between Hoback Junction and Alpine on Saturday morning and advanced far enough the Wyoming Department of Transportation closed the route later that day. Tons of earth, rock and trees piled onto 300 feet of the highway in a mound 40 feet high that oozed into the Snake River, blocking part of the waterway and forming a new wave. Tuesday evening, WYDOT district engineer John Eddins said a portion of the slide had slowed, but another portion was moving at a rate of 1 foot per minute. WYDOT officials estimate that about 35,000 to 40,000 cubic yards of material must be moved. That likely will take about 10 days, Eddins said.
Originally posted by Cryptonomicon
reply to post by Elostone
LOL at 20 seconds in, I was surprised to see the DOT worker walking around *on top of* the landslide as it's moving!! I know it's slow, but isn't that kind of frickin' dangerous??!!?
The whole thing could just accelerate and he'd be screwn!
Because of the volume of mud, rock and water moving across US 26-89 about 24 miles southwest of Jackson, and the speed at which the material is moving, there is no practical way to stop the slide and begin work to reopen the highway until the slide stabilizes naturally. No retaining structure could hold the slide back because of the amount of water involved, and any attempt to drill horizontally into the moving slide to drain water out would result in broken drainage pipe, WYDOT District Engineer John Eddins said Wednesday. “The slide is an earth or debris flow, which is soil and rock saturated with water. Containing this type of slide at the rate it is moving would not be safe or practical because it would flow around a structure or berm built for this purpose,” WYDOT Chief Engineering Geologist Jim Coffin said. “Capturing the water feeding into the slide would be also be very difficult because the water flows below and above ground and from different sources on the hillside.” The slide is moving at a rate of about one foot per minute with an estimated 40,000 cubic yards of material currently covering the highway to depths of up to 40 feet. WYDOT crews began moving material off the highway Saturday, but by 10 p.m. they could no longer keep the road open. Contractors were brought in to assist Sunday, but by Monday it became clear that effort was only further destabilizing the slide above the road.
WYDOT engineers have given the go-ahead for 24-hour, seven-day-a-week operations to remove the debris coming down from the active Double-Draw landslide which closed off the Snake River Canyon in northwestern Wyoming.
"The slide did things that are very encouraging for us yesterday," said John Eddins, District 3 district engineer. "Water flow in the middle of the slide has increased which has moved a lot of debris down to the road." The material in the lower moving section of the slide was last measured moving at a rate of about one foot per minute. Previously, that area was moving about six feet per hour. "You can't walk across the slide anymore because of how fast it's moving now," Eddins said. "It looks like a really slow moving river of mud. That's good news for us because the large mass is breaking up and coming down with the moving material."