County blasts debris to re-open roadway | SierraSun.com
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County blasts debris to re-open roadway

JOHN A. BAYLESS , Sierra Sun

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.


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