MENDOCINO Co., 4/20/17 -- The Mendocino County Executive office has issued a statement officially closing Bell Springs Rd. to through traffic, and warning that law enforcement will be checking for ID, a piece of mail, or to ensure that the road is only used by locals. Officials on the scene are empowered to make the final decision as to who can and cannot travel on the Bell Springs Rd.
In a separate press release the California Highway Patrol confirmed this closure, noting that as a result of the closure of Hwy. 101 many people have used Bell Springs as an alternate and that, "...road conditions on Bell Springs Road have deteriorated. There have been several collisions and vehicles have become disabled with roadside services unable to reach them in a timely manner."
Unfortunately, Google Maps is now directing people to take Bell Springs Rd. as a detour, but Remember, Google is not always right.
There have been rumors that Usal Rd. might be viable as well -- it is not. Usal Rd. remains closed, and the county has no plans to open it any time soon.
In the past few days there have been a number of small accidents, incidents of cars getting stuck, and sliding off the road, on Bell Springs. It is a rugged and remote road, and now law enforcement will bar people from traveling on it who are not residents, or making trips to locations on the road.
At this time the only alternate routs involve driving out to Interstate 5,
Be careful out there.
Here is the full press release:
TO: MENDOCINO COUNTY NEWS MEDIA
FR: MENDOCINO COUNTY EXECUTIVE OFFICE Ukiah, California…
April 20, 2017
HUMBOLDT AND MENDOCINO COUNTY ANNOUNCE THE CLOSURE OF BELL SPRINGS ROAD TO THROUGH TRAFFIC
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.) 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)
The CHP's press release:
BELL SPRINGS ROAD RESTRICTED TO LOCAL TRAFFIC ONLY
AFTER CLOSURE OF US HIGHWAY 101
During the night of April 16, 2017, a large rock and mud slide occurred on U.S. Highway 101 approximately three miles north of the Standish Hickey State Recreation Area in Leggett, CA. The slide had spilled over temporary concrete railing and a catchment fence which was in place due to a previous rock slide in March of 2017. This latest slide is still active and has made travel across either side of U.S. Highway 101 impassible. U.S. Highway 101 closed north of the Standish Hickey State Recreation Area
Since the slide closed U.S. Highway 101 earlier this week, travelers have taken Bell Springs Road to travel around the closure. As a result of the heavy traffic and continued winter storms, road conditions on Bell Springs Road have deteriorated. There have been several collisions and vehicles have become disabled with roadside services unable to reach them in a timely manner.
The California Highway Patrol in coordination with Humboldt County Department of Transportation, Mendocino County Department of Transportation, Humboldt County Sheriff, Mendocino County Sheriff and Cal-Trans have determined that the safest action for the public would be to close Bell Springs Road to through traffic and restrict travel to local necessary and essential traffic. Officers will be staffing the closures of Bell Springs Road and citizens should be prepared to provide proof/explanation of your need to be in the area to Officers at the closures. Proof can include but is not limited to: driver's license or registration card/ utility bill with address, work order for the area, etc.
Currently the alternate routes of travel for passenger vehicles and light trucks are State Route 36 and State Route 20. The current alternate routes of travel for larger commercial vehicles are State Route 20 and State Route 299.
Additionally the following roads are NOT alternate routes for the US Highway 101 closure: Usal Rd., Mina Rd., Zenia Bluff Rd., Hoagland Rd., Briceland Thorn Rd.
Please check with Cal-Trans for additional updates or alternate routes.