Stretch of HWY 111 south of Salton Sea shuts down due to migrating geyser

NILAND, Calif. - Almost a year ago, a geyser just outside of Niland forced Union Pacific Railroad to move its tracks.

Now it’s encroaching towards Highway 111. 

Caltrans Senior Transportation Engineer, Shawn Rizzuto said, the challenge is the amount of water that's emerging from the geyser.

"That's what's causing concern for us. Because it creates an instability in the foundation upon what our roads are constructed on," said Rizzuto.

Rizzuto said a  solution for the emerging water is developing sub-surface drainage.

"We take fabric, and we wrap a lot of rock. Large rocks and small rocks and provide an escape or a passage to redirect the water instead of it coming out and spreading."

Highway 111 will be shut down for two weeks while Caltrans employees work around the clock to reconstruct it. 

"So that will be the major inconvenience. That will require an out of direction detour in excess of a hundred miles."

The geyser is also exposing gases that Emergency Medical Service Preparedness Manager, Chris Herring said won't be a hazard to residents. 

Herring added, "It is in an isolated and remote area of Imperial County. As the gases come out of the earth they dissipate very quickly."

Local agencies will continue to monitor the movement of the geyser.

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