Landslide cuts major Quito highway to coast

Mar 23, 2014

Heavy rains in the northern sierra have triggered landslides that have closed the main highway between Quito and coast. As of this morning, hundreds of vehicles are stranded as efforts to clear the Quito – Santo Domingo highway continue

chl landslide
According to Fabian Uzcátegui, Secretary of Infrastructure, another in three-day series of landslides covered part of the highway Tuesday night, dumping 5,000 more cubic meters onto the roadway.

Uzcátegui said that the landslides have caused a number of injuries, including eight in a bus struck by falling rocks on Monday.

Uzcátegui said that heavy equipment is on the scene and says the roadway is expected to be cleared by afternoon. “The problem is that the ground is saturated and the rain continues to fall,” he said. “It is very likely we will have more slides. All we can do is to keep working and hope for the best.”

A major concern for road crews are loose rocks that continue to drop onto the highway. “We have to consider the safety of our workers,” Uzcátegui said.

Late march to early May is a period of particularly heavy rainfall in the sierra, and a period of frequent landslides.


Photo caption: Stranded motorists on Quito-Santo Domingo highway.