Rockslide blocks traffic on Highway 50 near Echo Summit for hours

Data pix.

ECHO SUMMIT, Calif. (KTXL) -- Massive boulders crashed onto the westbound lane of Highway 50 east of Echo Summit on Monday.

While no cars were caught underneath the rockslide, plenty were stuck because of the mess.

Caltrans got right to work clearing the rockslide. Traffic had to be held in both directions at times during the five-hour cleanup. When possible, there was one-way, controlled traffic.

By 7 p.m., the California Highway Patrol said the rockslide was cleared and all lanes were open. Caltrans said chain controls were still in effect.

"You know, we want people to come here and have a good time," said Mark Hanson, who has lived in South Lake Tahoe for 18 years.

But often a good time turns into trouble when travelers are not prepared. Hanson has seen travelers make too many mistakes.

"Not gauging the conditions of the road accurately,” he said. “I think having too much faith in the ability of their wheels or their tires for maintaining traction."

People should drive through the area like they are traveling on ice -- because sometimes they literally are.

"You really have to remain at least one-and-a-half cars to two cars distance because you're never going to see an ice patch. And when you go to stop, you don't stop, and that's part of the problem,” said South Lake Tahoe resident Donna Isabella. “So the people who come up here really should be aware, you know, drive cautiously. You cannot be in a rush. It's not worth ruining a holiday."

The good news is the High Sierra was blanketed in several feet of snow.

Fire danger was crushed to the point that there have been controlled burns in the forest. Those who see the flames while driving into South Lake Tahoe should know there is nothing to worry about.

 

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