End of highway closure uncertain

2:32 pm June 19th, 2012

The Dispatch

A section of State Route 7 near Alder is expected to remain closed most or all of this week as highway workers try to figure out how to keep rocks and other debris from raining down from a hillside next to the highway.

The closure is in its 12th day. State Department of Transportation (DOT) officials ordered the highway to be shut down to through traffic beginning June 7.

The two-lane highway has been closed in both directions at the intersection with Alder Cutoff Road, and the northbound lane only was closed at the State Route 161 junction.

Officials plan to continue the closure at least through this Friday and possibly longer as a safety precaution, according to Kelly Stowe, a DOT spokeswoman.

Signs will continue to advise motorists of the closure and related detours.

Stowe said Monday that DOT may hire a company with specialized equipment to assist with drilling for core samples of earth from the hillside that’s causing problems. The company’s equipment is in California.

The amount of debris that has tumbled down and at times reached the roadway has diminished, but officials are keeping the public out of the area in case the situation worsens, Stowe said.

(Read more of this story in the June 20 print edition of The Dispatch)


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