This national forest road is blocked by a land slide of rock and debris to where it is a hazard for drivers in cars.

Auburn Rockslide Closes Highway 99

Rockslide Along Highway 99 Leads to Road Closure

A dangerous rockslide on Highway 99 in Auburn on January 13 closed the roadway from Old Foresthill Road to Lincoln Way while the area was being secured. The roadway was shut down around 5:31 a.m. due to unstable rocks and dirt that could let go and present an additional danger to motorists. Fortunately, no injuries were reported due to the slide. Although crews with Caltrans are working to shore up the area of the fall, no information was released on when the road would reopen.

New Rockslide Reported on State Route 49

Around 5:00 a.m. in Auburn, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) received word that another slide was occurring along northbound State Route 49, and Caltrans had shut down both sides of the roadway as the movement was still active. A chaplain had been called to the scene, which may mean a serious injury or fatality had occurred as well as providing comfort to workers at the site. 

Road Closure Announced in Second Incident

It was not reported whether this latest rockslide involved a worker at the project or motorist. Caltrans reported that they required additional equipment at the scene because the rocks above the slide area appeared to be unstable. Authorities were readying to close down the roadway from Lincoln Way.

The Dangers of Slides Involving Rocks and Debris

A landslide can present a significant danger to motorists passing on the roadway. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, they lead to between 20 and 50 fatalities each year. They can have a number of causes, including the following:

  • Weather disturbances with high wind and rain
  • Seismic activity
  • Freezing and thawing
  • Lack of vegetation
  • Erosion
  • Neglected land management
  • Previous wildfires

How to Avoid a Slope Disruption When Traveling in Your Car

A rockslide can be a very dangerous occurrence, as it can cause severe damage to your car and put you in danger. Fortunately, there are preventative measures that you can take to try and avoid slope disruptions from occurring when driving:

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times: Know the terrain of the roads that you are driving on, and pay attention to any potential signs of a slide, such as loose rocks or soil being displaced.
  • Listen: A slide that is about to occur is often preceded by a low rumbling sound.
  • Drive slowly: When approaching steep roads or areas where a rockslide could occur, take your time and drive slowly, as this will reduce the chances of dislodging rocks or other debris.
  • Avoid steep banks: Stay away from a steep bank where a slide could occur. Either drive in the slow lane or the middle one if a steep embankment is on the other side.
  • Don’t stop in places where a slide could occur: If you must stop, find an area that is away from any potential hazard.
  • Have your car regularly inspected: Make sure to take your car for a regular inspection at a qualified mechanic and address any issues that could increase the likelihood of a slope disturbance, such as worn tires or damaged shock absorbers.
  • Stay off roads where slope disruptions are a danger: If there has been a recent earthquake, heavy rain and flooding, avoiding potential roadways where a rockslide could occur could end up saving your life. Better yet, take another route or postpone traveling until you know it is safe.

Following these precautions will help you to avoid potentially dangerous slopes and keep yourself safe on the roads. Always be aware of your surroundings, drive carefully and inspect your car regularly to stay safe and reduce the chance of being involved in a slide.

Auburn Personal Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, an Auburn personal injury lawyer. Rockslides may be unavoidable or due to lack of warning or negligent care of a dangerous area where they could occur. If you are injured, you might be able to recover compensation. Our accident attorneys are available at (530) 392-9400 or (800) 404-5400 to provide you with free and friendly legal advice. Please feel free to ask us any questions you may have about your case or to discuss your options for obtaining compensation. Our services are also available online.

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