County blasts debris to re-open roadway |

County blasts debris to re-open roadway

A rockslide early Sunday morning catapulted at least five rocks the size of pickup trucks onto Old Highway 40 near Donner Summit, leaving the road completely blocked in both directions for three days.

No one was injured in the incident.

Dave Keck of the Nevada County Department of Transportation said about five rocks weighing around 100 tons fell from the slope above the road.

“They fell from about 100 feet up – stripped out from the bottom of the slope, onto and across the road,” Keck said.

On Monday, Nevada County personnel assembled at the site and prepared to blast the rocks off the road.

On Tuesday afternoon, the blasters drilled holes in the larger pieces of rock, inserted dynamite and blasted them into smaller chunks, which were then bulldozed off the road Wednesday morning.

About 15 pounds of dynamite were used in the blasting.

“The road is open,” Keck said Wednesday. “We re-opened it around 1 p.m. We had success blasting and got it down to a small enough size to handle with our equipment.”

Keck said Norm Saylor of Donner Ski Ranch contributed his time and heavy equipment to help clear the road.

County workers will continue to monitor the site of the slide, but Keck said the place where the rocks fell appears pretty stable.

“It’s the first slide of this magnitude in a while,” Keck said. “The last one occurred around 10 years ago.”

He said damage to the road surface was minimal and county workers repaired it with cold patch before opening Old Highway 40 again.

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User