State chips away at Wilson Canyon rockfall

Workers cling to the rock face above Highway 208 in Wilson Canyon.

Workers cling to the rock face above Highway 208 in Wilson Canyon.

Smith Valley residents who go to Yerington for services are traveling the long way through Carson Valley as the state continues to chip away at the rockfall across Highway 208 linking Smith with Mason Valley.

“Over the past week, rock removal experts have harnessed up and scaled the roadside slope to remove unstable rock remaining on the slope above the landslide,” said Nevada Department of Transportation Spokeswoman Meg Ragonese. “In the meantime, workers and equipment staged to the sides of the landslide area have worked to safely break apart and haul off large boulders which fell onto the roadway as part of the landslide.”

A Jan. 10 slide fell across 400 feet of highway through Wilson Canyon, stopping just short of blocking the Walker River.

The following morning, NDOT geotechnical engineers found the rockface remained unstable.

The first job was to remove 1,000 cubic yards of rubble so workers could reach the main part.

“Crews will continue to break apart and haul off the large boulders and earth over the coming weeks,” Ragonese said. “Once the large debris area is cleared, roadway repairs will then be made.”

While the state hopes to temporarily open the road to one-way traffic in future weeks, an exact schedule to reopen the road is not finalized. In the meantime, the roadway remains closed to through traffic between Hudson Aurora Road and State Route 339.

Alternate routes are sparse in the rural area. Highway detour routes include using Highway 395, Highway 50 and Highway 95A to travel between the Yerington and Douglas County areas.


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