A mudslide triggered by an intense storm cell over the Willow Fire area slammed across Highway 87 Friday evening, forcing the closure of southbound lanes for more than five hours.
"About 7 p.m., the road had to be shut down due to two mudslides that crossed the southbound lanes in the area of milepost 230, 20 miles south of Payson right at Cane Springs Road," Department of Public Safety Sgt. John Whetten said.
Tonto National Forest Service Patrol Captain Tom Lister said the mud was as deep as four feet.
"We had a big storm system down there sit right on top of that Deer Creek range and Slate Creek, and we had a slide come across the road there just north of the Cane Springs turnoff," Lister said. "It was probably 30 feet across, and probably close to four feet deep on the outside lane and two feet deep on the inside lane."
There were no injuries reported, but Lister said it was fortunate vehicles were able to stop. The southbound lanes were reopened at 1:30 a.m.
See Tuesday's printed edition of the Payson Roundup for complete details.