Springs runoff along River Road has caused mud and chunks of pavement to slide down a steep embankment. Paul Draper with the Routt County Road and Bridge Department said crews will begin repair work once conditions allow.

Photo by John F. Russell

Springs runoff along River Road has caused mud and chunks of pavement to slide down a steep embankment. Paul Draper with the Routt County Road and Bridge Department said crews will begin repair work once conditions allow.

Mudslide narrows traffic lanes on River Road

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— A mudslide on River Road on Tuesday night came dangerously close to undermining the road, but both lanes remain open as repair crews await dry weather.

The slide, which occurred above and below the road, was caused by spring runoff and unstable ground, Routt County Road and Bridge Director Paul Draper said.

The slide is 400 meters north of River Road's intersection with Mount Werner Road, and less than 500 meters from an April 2008 mudslide. The slide has eroded the road up to near the edge of the white line on a short section of the roadway.

Road and Bridge crews cleared debris from the upper slide by noon, but workers may have to wait for the ground to dry before cleaning up the lower area, Draper said. In the meantime, workers set up orange cones to alert drivers to the small shoulder.

"It might take us a week, it might take three to four days," he said. "It will have to dry up first before we can fix it. We'll start down by the river and it's pretty mucky down there."

Water could be seen flowing from the hillside near the road Wednesday afternoon.

Draper said there are two other active slides in Routt County, one on the Cog Road above Hayden and one on Routt County Road 86 near Elkhead Reservoir and the Moffat County border. Neither slide caused a road closure, he said.

"The Cog's looking pretty good. The one on 86 is not," he said.

Draper's department has applied for a grant to fix the slide on C.R. 86, but he said he does not expect the repairs to be finished soon.

Slides are common this time of year as ground water levels rise and runoff from higher elevations saturates hillsides.

"The ground water essentially lubricates the friction plane," he said. "Nature will rule here, at least for a little bit."

-To reach Zach Fridell, call 871-4208 or e-mail zfridell@steamboatpilot.com

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