The Wyoming Department of Transportation is cautiously monitoring movement on US 26/89 through the Snake River Canyon about 2 miles south of Hoback Junction. Maintenance crews have noticed large fissures as wide as 4 inches and as deep as 2 feet in the pavement in the Deer Creek Landside Mitigation area near milepost 139.
According to WYDOT Maintenance Foreman Bruce Daigle, the movement is being caused by saturated material under the pavement, due to the unusually high amounts of precipitation the area received through the winter.
“The water underneath the road is causing saturated material to move,” Daigle added.
WYDOT Geologists have been on site and will continue to measure and monitor the movement of the road. “It’s definitely moving, the guardrail is sinking too. We are watching very closely,” Daigle said.
The section of movement is in the northbound lanes, roughly 100 feet long and 30 feet wide. The Snake River Canyon currently remains open, but is currently under a Falling Rock Advisory.
WYDOT is advising travelers to use extreme caution when traveling through this area and to be prepared for what could become an extended closure. WYDOT will not hesitate to close the canyon if conditions deteriorate and become unsafe for the traveling public.
“If the roadway fails, we will have to immediately initiate a full closure until it dries out a little. Then we will immediately go to work determining how to best go about opening the canyon. It could be an extended period of time,” Daigle said.
WYDOT crews are already mobilizing equipment and crews in anticipation of the failure and have already put together a plan for a temporary detour around the shoulder to maintain two-way traffic, if possible. WYDOT is recommending residents and commuters take note of the situation and be prepared for any possible temporary or extended closure. Motorists should allow yourself ample time to reach your destination and obey all advisories and closures.
WYDOT would like to remind drivers to slow down when driving in adverse conditions, be alert and cautious of roadside workers and obey all traffic control devices. For more information on closures and weather conditions, please visit http://www.wyoroad.info.