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Wet Roadway Halts Efforts to Clear Golden State Freeway

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Crews clearing tons of mud and rocks that slid down onto the northbound Golden State Freeway on Thursday had to halt the cleanup effort Saturday when the road became too slippery to maneuver their heavy equipment.

California Highway Patrol Sgt. Jack Skaggs, of the Fort Tejon station, said he was not sure how long the unexpected work stoppage would postpone the reopening of the two lanes that remained closed Saturday. Two other northbound lanes were cleared Friday. Officials had predicted they would be able to clear all four northbound lanes within a week.

The cleanup effort was called off about 1:30 p.m. because the bulldozers and trucks were sliding on a thin layer of mud created by the rain.

The effort had already been going slowly because each time workers would haul off a load of mud, more of the hillside would slide down.

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“It’s a give-and-take battle with the dirt,” Skaggs said.

An estimated 30,000 to 35,000 tons of earth moved onto the freeway near Fort Tejon Road, north of California 138, during the initial slide Thursday night.

Skaggs said northbound drivers should expect minor delays until the two right lanes are reopened.

He added that traffic will probably not be affected as much as it was on Friday, when people traveling out of town for the holidays were diverted onto several alternate highways going around the site.

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Skaggs said that after a holiday weekend, the heaviest traffic is typically in the southbound lanes, which were not affected by the slide.


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