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B-T Officials: No Road Repair Starts until Porcupine Landslide Stops

The following is a release from the Bridger-Teton National Forest

The Bridger-Teton National Forest is actively monitoring landslide movement and stream flow for the Porcupine landslide, 17-miles from the Alpine parking lot on the Greys River Road, as the hillside continues to slump towards the river. Coordination with other federal, state, and local agencies continues as the understanding of the risk and conditions that may initiate varying levels of emergency response are determined. The Forest has closed the 17-mile area downstream of the slide by a temporary order due to the risks posed not only by the large crevices and the constantly changing conditions, but also due to the risks from the heavy, moving soils and flooding potential, should the debris dam which is partially obstructing the Greys River and backing up water, breech.

The Forest requested the Central Federal Lands Highway Division, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Highways Administration, to assist with repairing the roadway. As a result, the Forest was successful in obtaining Environmental Relief for Federally Owned Roads (ERFO) funding with an preliminary award based on the initial assessment of $3.2 million. This is considered start-up money to replace the road section in-kind, once the slide stabilizes.

A temporary or emergency bypass route for other motor vehicles has not yet been identified for summer access. “The construction of a temporary road while we wait for the landslide to steady may or may not be feasible,” said Greys River District Ranger Justin Laycock. “Road repair in the vicinity of the slide will be addressed after conditions have stabilized as cutting into the toe of an active landslide would not restore a reliable road section and is potentially unsafe,” he said. The temporary road closure order will remain in place until further notice. Forest Service engineers have started investigations to determine how the road might be reconstructed in order to restore this one of four public access routes to the area.

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