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Mountain highway collapses in landslide

A huge chunk of highway in Wyoming that connects Jackson to nearby communities gave way in a landslide. Photo courtesy of Wyoming Department of Transportation/Facebook
A huge chunk of highway in Wyoming that connects Jackson to nearby communities gave way in a landslide. Photo courtesy of Wyoming Department of Transportation/Facebook

June 9 (UPI) -- A huge chunk of twisting mountain highway in Wyoming that connects Jackson with nearby communities gave way in a massive landslide Saturday, leaving a huge chasm in one of the main arteries to neighboring Idaho.

Footage from an aerial drone shows a section of the pavement completely gone and the Teton Pass road hobbled by deep cracks. Portions of the guardrail along the mountain pass road were twisted, connected only at one end, and dangling in a chasm created when the road gave way.

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Dangerous conditions had prompted transportation officials to close the highway when it became clear on Thursday that danger was imminent before the landslide. No casualties were reported.

"... crews, along with contract crews from Evans Construction, were working in the area to construct a detour around the damage, but the landslide continued to move, taking out the whole road. No crews were hurt in the process, and no equipment was damaged," the Wyoming Department of Transportation said in a statement.

The section of state Highway 22 that crumbled and collapsed is closed indefinitely, the department said. The Idaho Transportation Department is assisting Wyoming crews.

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"WYDOT is now reviewing a long-term solution and repairs, and more information on planning efforts will be available soon," the statement said.

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon said in a Facebook post that showed video of the slide that state geologists and engineers are on-site to conduct an assessment and develop a long-term solution to rebuild the roadway.

"I recognize the impacts this closure has to Teton County residents, regional commuters and the local economy, and we are in direct communication with local officials," he said in his post.

Travelers can still reach the Jackson area, but the detour adds at least an hour to the trip, according to the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce.

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