The Lincoln National Forest has issued a temporary closure order for the protection of human health and safety for the Tunnel Vista Observation Site on the Sacramento Ranger District following a motor vehicle accident on May 7, 2019.
A commercial semi-truck and trailer crashed into the canyon just west of the tunnel on Highway 82 as it was coming down the mountain. The truck caught fire upon impact. The trailer separated from the truck and broke open, spilling tar onto the ground.
The closed area includes all lands within the boundary starting at the western edge of the Tunnel Vista Observation Site (including the parking area and extended pullout area west of the parking area), then continuing north for approximately 500 feet downhill to Fresnal Creek, then continuing east along the southern bank of Fresnal Creek for approximately 2000 feet, then continuing south back uphill until reaching Highway 82, then continuing west along the north side of Highway 82, back to the western edge of The Tunnel Vista Observation Site.
The restricted area does not encompass Highway 82, or the Tunnel itself, both of which remain open.
“The location of the vehicle makes this cleanup effort complex,” said Forest Engineer Andres Bolanos. “The accident wreckage is in steep terrain, and the trailer is extremely heavy.”
The New Mexico Environmental Department will coordinate with the Forest Service to remove the hazardous material and wreckage over the coming weeks while the closure order is in effect.
Please use caution, reduce speed and watch for crews working in the area while cleanup efforts are underway.