Massive rockslide damages rail, road near Moab

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MOAB — Crews are expected to complete repairs Monday on a section of railroad track that was damaged in a massive Nov. 5 rockslide.

The rockslide happened about 15 miles west of Moab. It destroyed about 100 yards of railroad track owned by Intrepid Potash Inc., said Rick York, general manager of the company's Utah operations.

Intrepid uses tractor-trailer trucks to transport about half the potash it mines near Moab, York said. The remaining potash is shipped out by train each Sunday, he said.

Intrepid was unable to switch out its full rail cars for empty ones over the weekend because of the damaged track; however, York said the company expects to have the track fully repaired by Monday night.

The rockslide also damaged state Route 279 when a boulder about the size of a large car punched a crater six feet deep and 20 feet wide in the road, according to Utah Department of Transportation spokesman Kevin Kitchen.

UDOT crews made temporary repairs to SR-279 within hours of the rockslide, Kitchen said. A permanent fix will have to wait until spring, when temperatures warm up, he said.


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Geoff Liesik


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