Crews used explosives Wednesday to blast apart a carport-sized pile of boulders that wound up blocking state Route 78 near Ramona following a rockslide spurred by torrential rains.
A boulder came loose from a steep hillside next to the two-lane rural road in the Bandy Canyon area on Tuesday afternoon and tumbled onto the pavement, forcing a closure of one its two traffic lanes, authorities reported.
Concerned that other massive rocks might come loose on the slope in the area, Caltrans soon closed the route between Academy and Haverford roads.
Workers then used airbags and other equipment to force about 10 other boulders off the storm-soaked embankment, leaving the back-country route fully blocked, said Hayden Manning, a spokesman for the state agency.
Late Wednesday afternoon, crews drilled holes in the slabs — the largest about 12 feet high — and used electronic charges to blow them into smaller pieces in one simultaneous detonation, Manning said.
At that point, workers began using a bulldozer to remove the remaining rubble. Officials hoped to have the process complete and the roadway reopened sometime Wednesday evening, the spokesman said.
In the meantime, the only way into Ramona was via state Route 67. Eastbound motorists on SR-78 were being detoured at Bandy Canyon Road to Highland Valley Road and SR-67.
—City News Service
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