Jim Mcknight  /  AP
Interstate 87 is seen near Bolton Landing, N.Y., after heavy rain triggered a mudslide that closed the heavily used highway.
updated 6/14/2005 3:27:32 PM ET 2005-06-14T19:27:32

A mudslide closed a 16-mile stretch of the main highway linking New York City and Montreal after a storm dropped 6 inches of rain on the area in a few hours, officials said.

The closure of Interstate 87 some 60 miles north of Albany means the approximately 13,000 vehicles traveling that stretch daily will be detoured onto local roads. It could be days or weeks before it is reopened, a state transportation official said Tuesday.

Heavy rain soaked the area of northern New York state late Monday, sweeping mud and rocks onto the roadway. The National Weather Service reported more than 6 inches of rain in some parts, and officials declared a state of emergency in four towns.

Three motorists suffered minor injuries when their cars struck mudslide debris, Warren County Sheriff Larry Cleveland said.

An emergency contractor was working to clear the road, said Peter Van Keuren, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.

“This does not often happen, which speaks to the magnitude of the storm,” Van Keuren said. “It’s fairly major.”

More rain was likely in the area from the remnants of Tropical Storm Arlene, said Eric Evenson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

“Unfortunately, you can’t rule out the possibility of more showers on Wednesday, Thursday and even into Friday,” Evenson said.

However, at least one local tourism official said the detour could have advantages.

“It’s a good opportunity to get (travelers) out into the Adirondacks,” said James McKenna, president of the Lake Placid-Essex County Visitors’ Bureau.


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