Rims rock slide area remains unstable as Billings engineers continue assessments

Posted at 4:31 PM, Jun 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-28 18:31:38-04

BILLINGS – City officials believe that the rock slide that damaged a Billings home on Tuesday might not be over just yet. 

City engineers are monitoring multiple areas for potential instability and believe that more rock could fall in the area.

Geotechnical experts from Terracon have completed an initial assessment, the results of which confirmed the belief that there is instability in adjacent areas of the rock face. A deeper investigation is ongoing and any plans of action will wait until that assessment is complete.

Terracon has worked with the city in the past on issues surrounding the rims, including the 2014 slide that closed a portion of Zimmerman Trail.

In that case a controlled blast was used to remove the unstable portion of the rock face, but Terracon geotechnical expert Dan Nebel says that more conservative options like rock bolting could be on the table depending on the state of the rock face.

As a result of the slide, the Billings Fire Department has asked residents of two homes close to the slide area to evacuate, as assessments of the extent of the instability in the rock face continue.

One of the families chose to evacuate while the resident of the home suffering the greatest damage has chosen to stay put.