BAXTER (CBS SF) — A massive slide of downed trees, rocks and dirt crashed down on I-80 Friday, shutting down traffic in both directions on the main traffic artery between the Bay Area and the Sierra, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The slide occurred near Baxter with all westbound traffic being held at Truckee and eastbound traffic at Colfax. There was no estimated as to when the roadway would be reopened.

The CHP was warning drivers not to attempt to use GPS to find alternate roads around the slide. The tracking devices were displaying incorrect routes and roads that were not open in the winter.

Slides were making travel difficult elsewhere in the Sierra.

A mudslide closed the Kingsbury Grade from the Carson Valley to Tahoe Friday morning. The Mount Rose Highway from Reno to Tahoe also was closed, and U.S. Highway 50 remained shut down on the lake’s east shore near Cave Rock where several huge boulders have fallen in recent days.

Like the Bay Area, the Sierra has been pounded by a succession of storms. The latest front carried with it warm temperatures that dumped as much as four inches of rain at the lower elevations and 25 inches of snow at the higher elevations.

The combination of rain and snow has led to a condition of snow called “Sierra Cement.” The snow is very heavy with a high water content.

  1. Jeff Hawkes says:

    An efficient fleet of excavators, dozers, chainsaws and dumptrucks could get rid of this mess in a day. Whether the nearby hillsides can be stabilized is another matter.

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