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MEAD: One Lane Of US 89 May Open Soon

Mead Meeting

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead Monday toured the massive landslide in the Snake River Canyon that has kept US Highway 26/89 closed for more than a week.  Mead says while he has seen photos of the slide, he was awed by its magnitude when he saw it in person.  Mead says he and highway officials went almost to the top of the slide and hiked to the other side.  Says Mead, “it strikes you how massive it is.”  Mead says he was also impressed that in addition to the amount of earth that has moved, massive amounts of water have has flowed through there.  Mead says he has been told crews may have to move 200-cubic yards of material to reopen the road.  Mead also points to the commuters from Lincoln County who have to commute a long distance now.  In Mead’s words, “With the price of fuel, its an expense to them, it’s an inconvenience and it’s also added traffic –there’s a danger element to it.”  The good news, says Mead, is that excellent progress is being made now clearing the debris off the road, and conditions permitting, traffic could move through there again soon. Mead says there is even an estimate that one lane could be open in the canyon as early as this weekend.  However he quickly adds a word of caution that with the water still flowing at the site, it is uncertain whether materials could continue to slide dashing those hopes.  Mead says with tourism season upon us now, the state wants to make sure it does all it can to have the road open when tourism is at its height. However, he says, Mother Nature has to cooperate.  At the same time, Mead says the state travel commission is promoting that the popular tourism activities in this part of the state are still readily accessible.  Mead says the department has been talking about the scenic alternative route into Jackson from Idaho, and then once the road is open they will be promoting that the route is fully open.  Mead praises the Wyoming Department of Transportation for their efforts so far under very difficult circumstances and he says he is pleased with the dialog the department has had with the residents here.

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