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Dynamite Charges Rip Into Massive Rockslide Blocking Highway 50 At Echo Summit

By Web staff

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    ECHO SUMMIT, California (KPIX) — Dynamite charges ripped into a massive rockslide of tons of boulders and debris blocking Highway 50 at Echo Summit Friday, as Caltrans crews began the lengthy process of clearing the major weekend traffic route into South Lake Tahoe.

The blast busted up a large cabin-sized boulder that was blocking nearly the entire roadway.

But now the removal process faces another major obstacle. A potent Winter storm was expected to dump as much as half a foot of snow and also batter the summit with gusty winds.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory predicting hazardous mountain travel and encourages motorists to avoid traveling Friday afternoon through at least Saturday morning. Meteorologists are predicting four to eight inches of snow over the higher peaks above 4,000 feet and one to four inches above 2,500 feet.

The California Highway Patrol was turning eastbound motorists around at Sly Park Road and Sierra-at-Tahoe, and detouring westbound travelers at State Route 89 Junction and Meyers. Motorists were advised to use I-80 as an alternate route.

The slide was reported around 6 p.m. Thursday. Fortunately, no injuries were reported.

Caltrans crews worked throughout the night and early morning hours prepping for the blasting operations by drilling holes into the large boulders.

Once the roadway is cleared, crews will need to repair guard rail damaged by the rocks before reopening to traffic. There was no ETA as to when that will happen.

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