Rockslides cause danger for drivers


TRINITY COUNTY, Calif. - The Trinity River California Highway Patrol has beefed up patrols to protect motorists from hazards on the roadways.

Officer Scott Merryman with the CHP said this past week of wet weather is the first significant rainfall they've had in Trinity County in months. It is creating a dangerous situation for drivers using Highway 299 in the Trinity River area, which is already considered by many a tricky road.

"I can tell you when I first started driving this roadway I was scared," said Officer Merryman.

Officer Merryman has been with the Trinity River division for five years and said in this time he has come to know the threats to motorists in the area. He said most of the corridor is lined with steep and unsettled terrain known for rockslides. Combine that with a slippery and windy road, it's a recipe for an accident.

"You've got one side river, you get a rockslide through here. Someone comes around the corner and what could ultimately happen is that person could try and move, swerve for that and end up in the river," said Officer Merryman.

This past week, Caltrans has cleaned up numerous rockslides. One was as deep as ten feet into the mountainside near the Big Flat Campground. Officer Merryman said the scariest thing about the natural disasters is you never know when they are going to hit.

"You need to be really focused on not just the other drivers but the terrain itself. The terrain could actually in a rainstorm come and get you," said Officer Merryman.

Officer Merryman recommends for motorists to just slow down and remember that driving is a privilege that shouldn't be taken lightly.

"The ability to lose the ability to drive through a crash, that's something everyone has got to realize," said Officer Merryman.

The CHP has an extra three patrols out scanning the area to keep the roadways safe, working closely with Caltrans to clean up any hazards. For the latest road conditions in your area, check our website: