UPDATE: Rock Slide Shuts Down Stillwater River Road 1, 2 Weeks
UPDATED AT 3:20 p.m.
FISHTAIL - Stillwater River Road in Nye will remain closed for a minimum of one to two weeks -- and possibly longer -- following a Wednesday morning rock slide that officials say remains unstable.
One home has been evacuated, with officials recommending the evacuations of two others.
A small team of engineers has evaluated the slide and believes that moisture from recent heavy rainstorms seeped behind wedges that were holding large sections of rock together, causing the slide, said Cassie Riggin, project manager for Great West Engineering.
There is concern about future slides with a severe weather alert for that part of the county on Friday night, calling for high winds and heavy rains, said Stillwater County Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator Carol Arkell at an informational meeting attended by approximately 25 residents Thursday afternoon in Fishtail.
The slide occurred just upriver from the Midnight Canyon Bridge around 7:30 a.m. and came down into the Stillwater River with enough force to push water up into the yard of a home on the opposite of the river, said Arkell.
Stillwater County Road & Bridge Superintendent Mark Schreiner also addressed the group Thursday, saying that the road was impassable and no efforts were going to be made to clear it until the engineers gave the go ahead.
"We're not going to put anyone under it (the slide area) if it's not safe," said Schreiner.
Phone service was knocked out in the Midnight Canyon area temporarily.
Homeowners asked about a large section of rock still hanging and if there was funding to do what was necessary to shore up the area. Schreiner cautioned that at this point, it is a wait and see game and that while some options have been discussed generally, no detailed plans will be made until the area is stable enough for a closer look.
Riggin said there are solutions, some of which are "astronomical" in price, but something that would need to be approved by the Stillwater County Commissioners.
A homeowner asked a representative from Fish, Wildlife & Parks if he thought another slide could potentially block the river channel completely, which the representative felt most likely would not happen.
In addition to Arkell, Schreiner, Riggin and FWP, also at the meeting were Stillwater County Attorney Nancy Rohde, state DES, Nemont and Commissioner Dennis Shupak.
An early morning rock-slide closed down Stillwater River Road in Nye Wednesday with one house being was evacuated.
Nye resident Bud Chenault said the slide occurred just upriver from the Midnight Canyon Bridge around 7 a.m. It was reported to the Stillwater County Sheriff’s Dispatch by multiple citizens, with the first call coming in at 7:39 a.m., according to dispatch records.
The road is closed from 1210 Stillwater River Road to 1240 Stillwater River Road -- or mile marker 12. Concerns of a second slide have prompted an evaluation of the area.
Stillwater County Road & Bridge Superintendent Mark Schreiner said there will be a informational meeting Thursday, June 4, at 1:30 p.m. at the Fishtail Community Center.
Stillwater County Undersheriff Chip Kem said Wednesday afternoon that the road would be closed for some time as an engineer needs to assess the situation before equipment can be sent in.
Phone lines were reportedly taken out in the slide as well.
Road & Bridge crew were on scene all day Wednesday as were Nemont vehicles.