HOBACK – Twice in the past week, U.S. Highway 189/191 has closed due to mudslides covering both lanes and blocking travel between Pinedale and Jackson.
On Wednesday, the road closed about 11:30 a.m. when debris covered the road at the Hoback Canyon near milepost 151, 51 miles north of Pinedale. Crews were able to clear the road and reopen within an hour, according to Stephanie Harsha, public relations specialist for WYDOT.
Since then, large chunks of debris have come down off the hillside and have clogged the ditches that were dug out Wednesday to catch the water flow. Debris and mud again flooded over the ditches and onto the road. Crews closed the road at 2:23 a.m. Thursday to begin clearing the mud and debris.
WYDOT planned to clear a single lane of travel and guide traffic through with a pilot car. Once a lane is cleared, crews will open the road. As of press time, the road was not open.WYDOT maintenance workers will continue to clean out the ditch alongside the road that was catching the flowing water, but engineers and maintenance technicians were considering other solutions.
WYDOT is asking motorists to avoid the canyon until open. Crews are not seeing any slowing of the debris flow and concern is still high for travel impacts.
“At this point, we need to find the source and address it,” District Engineer Keith Compton said.The estimated time of opening is unknown. To sign up for text alerts on road closures and openings, as well as advisories, visit http://www.wyoroad.info.WYDOT maintenance crews will continue to inspect the canyon for any other potential movements.WYDOT would like to remind drivers to slow down when driving in construction zones and be alert and cautious of roadside workers. n