The Georgia Department of Transportation is asking drivers to use caution after a rock slide in Lumpkin County left boulders — some “as big as a small Honda vehicle” — in the roadway.
The rock slide happened in the early morning hours Thursday, May 30, between Desoto Falls and Blood Mountain on U.S. 129/State Route 11.
“The route was closed for a couple of hours,” said Katie Strickland, district spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation.“The route was completely shut down to traffic. We had local police there and we responded as soon as we were able to get equipment mobilized to the area.”
Crews have been able to remove enough debris from one lane of the road to allow traffic to pass. Strickland said it’s a remote area, so not much traffic passes through in the first place, but “thankfully, no one was driving through when they slide occurred.”
There were no injuries.
Strickland said crews will use excavators and front-end loaders to remove the rest of the debris and hopes to have both lanes of the road open by the end of the day Thursday.
“This is just something that, there's a crevice or fissure there and just through shifting of the earth, the rocks become detached there and it just has like … an avalanche of rocks,” Strickland said.
She said rock slides happen in the area often enough that they had the equipment on hand to handle the situation as quickly as possible.
“This was one of the larger rock slides we’ve seen,” Strickland said. “To block both lanes, this is one of the larger ones we’ve seen.”
Strickland said it was about 200 tons of rock and was the eighth rock slide in the area in the past two months.
“Just because we had a rainy winter, our crews have been responding to these,” Strickland said. “But nothing to this magnitude to where it’s closed the route.”