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Mudslide Near Jackson Causes Lengthy Road Closure

(Courtesy WYDOT)

US 26-89 in the Snake River Canyon, about 24 miles southwest of Jackson Has been closed due to a mudslide. The Wyoming Department of Transportation believes the closure could be lengthy. Crews have been working on clearing the highway but due to the size of the slide and the uncertain shifting of the slide crews want to make sure necessary precautions are taken.

According to the Wyoming Department of Transportation, crews stopped removing material from the highway Monday because it appeared the effort was further destabilizing the slide above the road and caused more shifting to occur.

The slide almost tripled in size over the weekend and now measures about 100 yards wide and extends nearly a quarter of a mile up the ridge above the highway. Depths of the slide are estimated to reach 15 to 20 feet. Another issue crews are dealing with is that water is now running across the highway on the west side of the slide. The already unstable slide along with water may create the potential for  pavement to be washed out.

The National Weather Service has also issued a flash flood warning for the area through Tuesday afternoon as a result of expected melting snow. Wyoming has experienced well above average snow pack levels, and the Jackson area saw especially high levels.

WYDOT geologists will assess the conditions and recommend possible options for stabilizing the slide.

In dealing with the slide, north bound drivers on US 26-89 can continue on US 26 into Idaho north of Alpine Junction. The detour is some what inconvenient and will add approximately an hour onto driving time. That route passes through Irwin and Swan Valley before becoming Idaho Highway 31, which turns to the east through Victor and into Wyoming, where WYO 22 crosses Teton Pass into Jackson.

Truck traffic will be prohibited on Teton Pass from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. to facilitate daily commuters during the closure.

To read more about the slide, the road closure or detour information visit the Wyoming Department of Transportation.

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