A resident and his dog walk past the taped off portion of the Basin Road Trestle after it suffered damaged from a rockslide earlier this week. The trestle is open to pedestrians, but will remain closed to vehicular traffic until structural repairs are made, according to city officials. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

A resident and his dog walk past the taped off portion of the Basin Road Trestle after it suffered damaged from a rockslide earlier this week. The trestle is open to pedestrians, but will remain closed to vehicular traffic until structural repairs are made, according to city officials. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Rocky road: Basin Road Trestle open to pedestrians, remains closed to vehicles

City officials say repairs are currently being assessed after damaging rockfall

After a rockslide off Mount Maria reported on Wednesday left the Basin Road Trestle damaged and scattered with debris, the road has since been cleared but will continue to remain closed to vehicles until structural repairs are made, according to city officials.

“We’re working on it now,” said Greg Smith, City and Borough of Juneau Streets and Fleet Superintendent. “Until repairs are made, pedestrians can walk but cars are not able to access the road.”

Smith said according to an inspection by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities bridge engineers, the trestle appeared to have suffered enough structural damage that it will need to undergo repairs before the road can be reopened to vehicular traffic. Pedestrians are OK to cross the trestle, and the damage to the trestle’s wooden railing has been taped off with cautionary tape.

He said the city is currently working with a consultant, but could not provide a timeline of how long the repairs may take.

Orange cones and signs block off the entrance to the Basin Road Trestle after it suffered damaged from a rockslide earlier this week. The trestle is open to pedestrians, but will remain closed to vehicular traffic until structural repairs are made, according to city officials. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Orange cones and signs block off the entrance to the Basin Road Trestle after it suffered damaged from a rockslide earlier this week. The trestle is open to pedestrians, but will remain closed to vehicular traffic until structural repairs are made, according to city officials. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

According to Tom Mattice, CBJ Emergency Programs manager, the trestle area is not an atypical place for rockslides to occur and said there have been multiple similar events in the past.

“This is not an uncommon event, it’s simply a big rock that came down the hillside,” he said.

According to city hazard maps, the site is considered to be in both an avalanche and landslide zone. Mattice said the area’s steep terrain mixed with the recent heavy rain is likely the cause of the rock fall, which he said appeared to slide down from about 50 feet above the trestle.

“The reality is that we have thin soil, so when you get sections that are very very steep, especially after extreme raining you get a lot of erosion, and the steeper the terrain, the more erosion you see,” he said.

He emphasized that the area is relatively stable for the time being, but urged residents to be cautious in other steep terrain areas in other parts of Juneau as well, especially after more than two or three inches of rainfall occurs.

“Any time you see extended periods of rain, just be aware of your surroundings, because we’re probably going to see stuff moving,” Mattice said.

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at clarise.larson@juneauempire.com or (651)-528-1807. Follow her on Twitter at @clariselarson.

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