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Hillside still too shaky for highway to reopen

4:19 pm June 27th, 2012

No reopening of State Route 7 in the Alder area was being planned Monday, the state Department of Transportation reported.

The highway remained closed indefinitely as a safety precaution because of an unstable hillside. The closed portion is between Alder Cutoff Road and the State Route 161 junction.

Kelly Stowe, a state transportation (DOT) spokeswoman, said officials have no date in mind for when the highway will be reopened.

Heavy rain last weekend may have worsened the condition of a hillside that has been threatening to give way since at least June 7, the date when DOT officials ordered the closure after rocks and other debris spilled onto the highway. Tests of the soil on the hillside and observations have indicated more slippage is possible.

There have been no injuries to motorists or vehicle damage as a result of the problem. But while DOT figures out how to handle it, the agency plans to keep the highway closed for the safety of the public and to make it easier for DOT crews to work at the site, officials said.

A landslide at the in April forced a closure of the highway. In May, DOT crews removed trees and other material from the hillside in an attempt to help stabilize it.

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