Caltrans working to clear mudslide on Highway 17 in Scotts Valley

SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Caltrans is trying to clear away a mudslide on Highway 17 in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It's the second one in the same area in less than a month.

At this time southbound Highway 17 is closed due to a mudslide just south of the Lexington Reservoir.

Drivers are facing big delays with half the lanes shut down by rocks and debris.

RELATED: 1 lane of Highway 17 near Scotts Valley reopens after landslide
Crews have split the southbound lanes in half using cones, so one lane is open for northbound travelers.

Tons of rocks, debris and mud came crashing down on to the roadway Tuesday morning. A truck was smashed and the driver was able to walk away just fine. The CHP closed Highway 17 southbound at Bear Creek Road and turned cars back heading north. Highway 9 and other cut-throughs were also impassable at the time thanks to flooding and more mudslides. But now with one lane open, it may be slow, but at least traffic is moving.

"I'd say 35 would be a good speed driving on 17 in the current conditions, watching out for slides and watching out for the rain," California Highway Patrol Sgt. Troy Vincent said.

RELATED: Track the rain on Live Doppler 7

Caltrans is in charge of getting the mud and debris cleaned up and stabilizing the hillside. "This is the biggest mudslide I've ever been involved with and have seen on this highway," Caltrans engineer Devin Port said.

Caltrans will be using special equipment called a spider to get up the hill to start removing unstable debris.

This has happened before in this exact same location. Mud, rocks, trees and debris hit our ABC7 News van on January 9, sending a photographer to the hospital.
TRAFFIC: See current road conditions and closures

Caltrans engineers say they thought they did their job, but there are some things you just can't stop from happening. "This was definitely close to one of those act of God type of slide areas," Caltrans employee Devin Porr said.

The CHP is estimating one to two days before they will be able to reopen the northbound side.

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