On Sunday, April 16th, a rock slide six miles north of Leggett in northern Mendocino County forced the closure of Highway 101. The California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) has not provided an update on when Highway 101 may re-open, but at this time it is estimated to remain closed through the weekend.
Several local roads have been utilized as detours around the slide and the heavy traffic and wet weather have caused rapid deterioration in the road conditions, multiple traffic accidents, and stuck vehicles. This is a reminder to the traveling public that Bell Springs Road is not an alternate route for the Highway 101 closure between Piercy and Leggett. Bell Springs Road is closed to through traffic, and only open to local necessary and essential traffic. Law enforcement officials will request proof/explanation of your need to be in the area (i.e. driver’s license, bill with address, work order for the area, etc.)
“I understand this is a frustrating situation, but we must act in the interest of ‘safety first,’” said Second District Supervisor Estelle Fennel. “I have seen numerous postings on social media from individuals who are not familiar enough with Bell Springs Road to travel it safely, adding to the danger of this rural road. In addition, I know locals are feeling the impact of the increased traffic on an already compromised rural road. We ask for your patience and understanding during this time, and remind you to travel safely.”
In addition, the following roads are not alternate routes for the Highway 101 closure and could be closed to through traffic if necessary to maintain functionality for essential services to local residents: Usal Road (Whitehorn area), Briceland Thorn Road (Whitehorn area), Mina Road (Covelo), Zenia Bluff Road (Covelo), or Hoagland Road (Covelo).
Until Highway 101 is sufficiently cleared, officials on scene will make the final decision regarding who may travel on Bell Springs Road. The current recommended alternative route is Highway 36, Highway 299, Highway 20, and Interstate 5 to avoid the closure. Please check with CalTrans for additional updates or alternate routes. Road Conditions: (www.dot.ca.gov) or 1-800-427-7623 (ROAD).