U.S. Highway 82 reopened after rockslide

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CLOUDCROFT, N.M. — A portion of U.S. Highway 82 has been reopened after being closed over a weekend due to a rockslide.

Chopper 4 showed Monday the rockslide is cleared.

“Thankfully nobody was injured in the rockslide,” said NMDOT District 2 Engineer Francisco Sanchez. “Our crews worked diligently over the weekend to haul the boulders and debris off the highway as quickly as possible. Their next job was to repair the damaged road and guardrail. We appreciate drivers’ understanding and patience during the closure.”

On Saturday, the New Mexico Department of Transportation first alerted travelers of the rockslide between Alamogordo and Cloudcroft. U.S. 82 was closed in both directions from mile markers 2 to 8, near the tunnel.

So how did the slide happen in the first place? 

According to Sanchez it was natural. Recent rain that froze in cracks overnight, then thawed out could have been a factor. 

Sanchez says a geotechnical engineer did an assessment on the area following the slide.  

“Overall that area’s very stable. Like I said those rocks have been there thousands of years, maybe millions,” said Sanchez. 

He told KOB 4 that in the coming months, NMDOT crews may do what’s called “rock scaling” on Highway 82, to remove loose rock. Other long-term projects could also come.

“The future projects more than likely will be some kind of concrete draping system, or what we call rock bolts, basically large nails that go into the face of the mountain to stabilize these huge boulders,” Sanchez said. 

In the meantime, he says drivers should pay attention to warning signs and follow the speed limits.