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WYDOT Details Landslide Efforts

Open House

Wyoming Department of Transportation engineers and officials told about 50 people attending an open house with and officials Friday night they understand the importance of reopening US Highway 26/89 through the Snake River Canyon and are doing all they can.  District 3 District Engineer John Eddins opened dialog at the open house by assuring the crowd, in his words “we’re not just sitting and watching this slide dry out or procrastinating.”  Eddins says crews are currently removing debris from both sides of the slide, but do not want to disturb the middle which is channeling the flow down the mountain.  However, once it is safe to do so, Eddins says equipment is in place to work to clear the slide 24-7.  Eddins clarified that the event is not a mudslide because of the materials involved and the behavior of the slide.  Instead, he says the event is a total landslide. Eddins says the forest service has granted permits to haul the materials to sites near Astoria and Alpine.  That site at Astoria, he pointed out, is a former plant site that will benefit from restoration and habitat improvement that will eventually result from the deposit of the displaced soil there.  When asked if sufficient funds are available for the project, Eddins replied that the department would not stop working until the road is open.  WYDOT Director John Cox concluded the meeting saying his department is very determined to get this road opened at the earliest possible moment.  Cox says they can make that their focus because of the cooperation here, which he adds quoting “is a real breath of fresh air for us.”  Meanwhile, the Wyoming Governor’s office and the state travel commission are working to educate travelers in various markets that Jackson and nearby parts of Wyoming are open and accessible and are providing information about alternative routes to the popular activities that going on.

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