Mudslides will keep Highway 178 through the Kern River Canyon closed until at Thursday and the key commuter route to Bakersfield may remain inaccessible through the weekend, according to Caltrans.
The size of the two mudslides, a larger one near Bodfish and the second just west of the town, may require the Army Corps of Engineers for debris removal and road repair.
Calrans crews arrived on the scene for the first time Tuesday morning, about 12 hours after the slides occurred following heavy area rains.
“There is nothing of any size to require any blasting,” said District 6 Caltrans spokesman Jose Camarena.
But he said a huge volume of debris from the larger slide blocked the road. Camarena said the larger slide is 100 feet long and 14 feet high.
Heavy equipment such as front loaders and earth movers have been dispatched, and crews have placed barricades at key access points along the highway.
Highway 178 remains closed for its entirety through the canyon.
Camarena said mud and rock slides are annual occurrences along Highway 178, “but nothing like now.”
He suggested motorists use Highway 14 as an alternate route through Red Rock Canyon State Park in order to connect to Highway 58.
Get the latest traffic information at www.chp.ca.gov or call 800-GAS-ROAD.