Officials Friday had no estimated date for when the Highway 140 entrance to Yosemite National Park would be reopened, after a furious rock slide a day earlier left boulders and debris blocking the roadway.
U.S. Geological Survey workers assessed the area Friday in order to plan safe removal of the fallen rocks before the road can reopen, spokeswoman Ashley Mayer said. She added crews have begun clearing debris.
“This could take a few days at least,” Mayer said. “It’s quite a bit of material, but we’re going to try and get it removed as quick as we can.”
Chain restrictions are in place, Mayer said, because of the weather patterns inside the park. All vehicles, including those with four-wheel drive and snow tires, must have chains on board.
At about 5:45 a.m. Thursday, rocks crashed down the hillside near the Arch Rock Entrance Station, in an area close to the site of the Dog Rock Fire in October of 2014.
Mayer noted the rock fall may not have been related to weather or burned terrain, as rock slides happen on a nearly annual basis in the park.
Highway 140, or El Portal Road, remained closed from the park’s entrance to the junction with Highway 120, or Big Oak Flat Road.
All services within Yosemite remain open, and the park is still accessible by entrances on Highways 41 and 120. All roads other than the temporary closure are open as well, with lodging and other services ready for guests.
For road conditions, dial (209) 372-0200, then press option “1,” and “1” again for direct access to road reports.