Caltrans is working to build a temporary road to provide access to State Route 111 north of Niland as a natural - occurring geyser , or mud pot , moves toward the highway.

Caltrans plans to rebuild SR-111 as the geyser , in existence since 1954 , moves towards the existing highway. Construction began last week and will continue Monday through Saturday from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. through November, Additional closures may be necessary to accelerate the work , up to 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

The Niland Mitigation Project will be constructed in three phases. Phase 1 will be the construction of sheet pile walls to move the water to a gravel wash. Phase 2 consists of a sub-surface drain to convey the sub-surface water beneath the roadway to a gravel wash on the westside of the roadway. Phase 3 will see the construction of a detour road west of the current alignment as a contingency to re-route traffic from SR-111.

A full closure of the highway and the extensive out-of-the-way detour for up to two weeks will occur late in the project.

The geyser/mud pot is releasing water , carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide gasses in low concentrations but does not pose a health hazard. In the past 11 years , the geyser has moved slowly , however , the rate of movement has increased and has already encroached on the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.