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Crews Clearing Freeway Slide Thwarted by Slippery Surface

April 12, 1998|Special to The Times

LEBEC, Calif. — Crews working to clear tons of mud and rocks that slid onto the northbound Golden State Freeway on Thursday had to halt the clean-up effort Saturday when the road became so slippery that they were unable to maneuver their heavy equipment.

California Highway Patrol Sgt. Jack Skaggs of the Fort Tejon station said he was not sure how much the unexpected work stoppage would postpone the reopening of the two lanes that remained closed Saturday.

The clean-up effort was called off about 1:30 p.m. because the bulldozers and trucks being used to remove the dirt were sliding on a thin layer of mud created in the rains.

The effort had already been set back because each time workers would haul off a load of mud, more of the hillside would slide down.

An estimated 30,000 to 35,000 tons of earth moved onto the freeway near Fort Tejon Road, north of California 138, during the initial slide Thursday night.

Skaggs said northbound drivers should expect minor delays until the two right lanes are able to be reopened.

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