Mudslide blocks I-80 near Calif./Nevada state line

10:47 PM, Jul 2, 2013   |    comments
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NEVADA STATE LINE - A mudslide closed both directions of Interstate 80 near Floristan and Verdi Tuesday afternoon near the California-Nevada state line.

A torrential downpour just before 4 p.m. sent a wall of water and mud pouring across the east and west-bound lanes.

Several motorists were caught in the mud but Caltrans crews were able to get them out before they began clearing the mess.

One passenger in a car who took cell phone video could be heard saying, "The freeway's gone, the freeway's gone. Concrete and everything!"

Fortunately, the freeway was not damaged and Caltrans crews quickly went to work scraping and moving the mud and debris away.

"The rock stayed on this side and the other side got the rest of the mud through the scuppers," said Caltrans supervisor Bryan Carlson, referring to the mud that made it through drainage vents on the freeway to also block the eastbound lanes.

Mud and rock even made it down to Union Pacific railroad tracks beside the Truckee River, leaving a short section covered in mud and wood debris. A Union Pacific crew was preparing to clear the track, according to nearby workers.

Eastbound lanes reopened just after 9 p.m.. Westbound lanes did not open until 10 p.m..

Cal Trans spokesperson Deanna Shoopman said the muddy debris covering 80 was about the size of a football field -- 300 feet long and 6 inches deep. It happened about 4:30 p.m. when strong thunderstorms rolled through. Verdi and nearby Mogul were under a flash flood warning until 7:15 p.m.

Motorists on eastbound 80 were being directed off of the freeway at the Hirschdale Road exit in Truckee. Westbound 80 traffic was being turned back at the California-Nevada state line.

Drivers had to take long detours across the northern Lake Tahoe or to the north through Loyalton.

Check traffic for updates.

One possible wild card in the next few days is the possibility of more heavy rain that could cause more flooding.



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