A mudslide blocked travel on a portion of State Route 188 last week.

A thick coat of mud covered the roadway after an Oct. 5 storm dropped about 1.5 inches of rain in 30 minutes over the Bush Fire burn scar. With little vegetation to hold the soil in place, debris flowed out on to the roadway, covering about 300 yards of highway, blocking travel between mileposts 251 and 255, according to Garin Groff, a public information officer with the Arizona Department of Transportation.

The debris was an estimated 10 to 12 feet deep in some places, with 4-8 feet on the road.

Cleanup began Tuesday and continued through Wednesday with crews removing about 5,000 cubic yards of debris.

“About 14 ADOT employees worked 16 hours to remove the debris from the highway, with crews responding from the Roosevelt and Payson maintenance yards. While the highway is undamaged, crews will be returning to repair or replace damaged guardrail and right-of-way fencing, some of which remain buried. Also, crews will clear debris from box culverts and drainage systems,” Groff said.

The roadway was reported back open at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday.

“As for the future, the immediate area will remain vulnerable to flooding until the burn scar heals over the next several years,” Groff said. “ADOT advises drivers to avoid traveling when storms are active over recent burn scars that are adjacent to highways. Also, drivers should reduce their speed when traveling through these areas at nighttime.”

In other news, ADOT has posted road work on State Route 87 between Four Peaks/Sugarloaf Mountain and Sunflower.

The pavement maintenance along SR 87 between Cline Cabin Road (milepost 204) and Sunflower Road (milepost 218) will be rescheduled.

Contact the editor at abechman@payson.com

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