Massive boulder blocking Lake Tahoe highway lane (updated) |

Massive boulder blocking Lake Tahoe highway lane (updated)

A van-sized boulder rolled onto U.S. Highway 50 Saturday evening, Feb. 20, near Cave Rock, on Lake Tahoe's East Shore.
Sebastian Foltz / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

GLENBROOK, Nev. — Special equipment will be required to break up a large boulder today that rolled onto Highway 50 on Lake Tahoe’s East Shore Saturday evening.

The boulder caused a non-injury accident when it came loose near Glenbrook at around 6:30 p.m., according to the Nevada Department of Transportation.

It came free from a steep slope ­— roughly 20 feet uphill from the highway — and rolled across all four lanes of the road before coming to a stop on the other side, blocking the lakeside westbound lane.

The rock measures 9 feet wide by 6 feet high, said department spokewsoman Meg Ragonese.

“It’s not very common,” NDOT highway maintenance manger Steve Williams said on site Monday, describing the frequency of a rockfall of that scale. “In 29 years of being up here, I’ve only seen a few this size.”

He credited the region’s frequent freeze/thaw cycles for loosening the boulder to the point where it fell to the highway.

“Moisture in the ground is what does that,” he said. “Basically, it pushes the rock.”

NDOT plans to contract specialty large equipment to first break apart and then remove the boulder, with work occurring Monday.

Until the boulder can be removed, one lane of westbound 50 will remain closed.

“With westbound travel reduced to one lane, drivers are reminded to drive safely in the area, and to plan a little additional travel time,” Ragonese said. “Work to remove the boulder is anticipated to last through Monday, and potentially Tuesday if needed.”

Sebastian Foltz of the Tahoe Daily Tribune contributed to this report.

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