A mudslide is beginning to peel away the shoulder of U.S. Highway 14 between Shell and Burgess Junction in northern Wyoming, the Wyoming Department of Transportation reports.
While the road remains open for now, the slide also is threatening to expose a section of the guardrail on the highway that leads over the Bighorn Range southwest of Sheridan.
WYDOT Public Relations Specialist Cody Beers told Cowboy State Daily the road will remain open, but has been narrowed into two 12-foot-wide travel lanes. The speed limit is reduced to 40 mph, but there are no restrictions in place for trucks or other large vehicles.
May Not Be A Quick Fix
The slide is located at milepost 33.7, about 2 miles below the Antelope Butte Ski Area. Geologists and engineers are assessing possible long- and short-term repairs. Drilling in the slide area is planned for next week and traffic delays are possible when that work is in progress, Beers said.
"The slide started developing over the weekend and continued to move downhill through Tuesday night," Beers said. "It has slowed considerably since then."
Beers said the road is safe, but WYDOT is asking motorists to slow down in the area until WYDOT engineers can assess the depth of the slide and make a plan to shore up the road.
Slide, Slide, Everywhere A Slide
The late spring and above-normal precipitation across northern Wyoming this year has caused numerous mudslides. Beers said slides happened west of Cody in March and April, in the Wind River Canyon in April and on the North Fork in early June.
"Usually by this time of the year it's full-blown summer, but in those mountain areas with the increased moisture sometimes you'll see a spring come alive and it will flow where it hasn't flowed in a few years," Beers said. "When you're dealing with a highway over a mountain range like the Bighorns it can be unpredictable."
Beers added that next week when the drilling begins, WYDOT geologists will be able to better assess the size and depth of the slide and make a plan to rebuild the slope to support the road.
WYDOT will release more information next week after the geological assessment is made.
Beers further advises motorists to keep an eye out for fast-moving storms that can cause water to flow across roads and also to watch for motorcycles, bicycles and wildlife on Wyoming's many mountain passes.