Watch for falling rocks

A big crack near High Point Curve on Highway 395 above Topaz Lake has reduced the road to one lane.

A big crack near High Point Curve on Highway 395 above Topaz Lake has reduced the road to one lane.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.

Water in its frozen form meets the definition of a mineral, particularly when it forms naturally, like ice on a highway.

We’re finally fairly clear of that and with high temperatures expected to crack 80 degrees for the first time in six months, it’s not going to pose much of a direct challenge.

But that doesn’t mean that we’re not dealing with the repercussions of having a lot of it seeping into soil and cracks.

Last week, a vehicle came around a curve near Glenbrook Canyon to run headlong into a boulder that had fallen off the mountain.

On Monday morning there was a report of a small landslide on a Douglas County thoroughfare.

Highway 50 has rock fall netting installed along it to prevent the rocks from becoming a regular hazard, but that’s relatively civilized compared to some of the other routes in the Sierra.

Highway 395 is down to one lane at High Point Curve where some pretty gnarly cracks developed on the side above Topaz Lake. Even if both Monitor and Ebbetts passes were open, which they are not, Highway 89 is still closed for a mudslide that occurred just past the Carson River Resort. Last week also saw Douglas County close Buckeye Road to conduct repairs caused by last month’s flooding.

And it’s not just the roads.

The Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District responded to seven line breaks in a month that operators believe were caused by the long freeze that has affected the plastic pipeline that serves parts of the county’s largest single community.

We’ve said this many times, but we are finally seeing a real spring, a month after its official arrival, after a fairly long and difficult winter.

But as the mercury rises in these next few weeks, so will the river. We don’t expect anything as spectacular as the January or March floods, but there’s still a lot of that frozen water locked up in the snowpack and that’s all got to go somewhere.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment