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Slide takes our part of Chief Joseph Scenic Highway near Cody, but road remains open

Posted at 4:27 PM, Apr 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-19 18:27:09-04

Parts of the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway in Wyoming, slid out last night, but the road remains open, according to Wyoming transportation officials.

The slide is in the same place where damage occurred to the Wyoming Highway 296 last year about 20 miles northwest of the intersection with Wyoming Highway 120 near Cody.

While the road is still currently open, drivers are urged to use caution and reduce speed in the area of the road damage. Wyoming Department of Transportation maintenance personnel are currently on the scene and state geologists are assessing the hillside after the slide.

WYDOT spokesman Cody Beers says that the road is currently down to one lane. He says the situation is severe and that the hillside remains unstable. His hope is that the hillside can be stabilized but he notes the possibility that the entire road could be lost.

The instability in the hillside is moisture related and is occurring in an area historically prone to slides of this nature. When the slide that damaged the road in the same spot last year occurred, a complete fix was too large a project to undertake, state transportation officials said. The roadway was temporarily fixed but the hillside itself remained unstable.

Beers says that any predictions for the future of the stability of this area will likely have to wait until the end of the melting season.