Drivers on Highway 41 to and from Yosemite National Park should get used to traffic delays at least for around a month, Caltrans spokesman Cory Burkarth said.
On Tuesday, a section of the highway in Fish Camp, near Jackson Road, was closed due to storms causing a portion of it to sink. On Feb. 9, a large sinkhole ripped open on the highway’s southbound lane near that area, and one-way controls were put in place 24 hours a day as Caltrans crews assessed the roadway.
Burkarth said Tuesday afternoon the reopening time for the highway was unknown. For northbound drivers on the way to Yosemite, the suggested detour is to take Highway 49 to Highway 140 in Mariposa.
Burkarth said crews discovered a 300-foot-long culvert pipe under the highway, about 36 inches in diameter, was in apparent disrepair and contributed to the erosion that has resulted in continued traffic delays.
He said a plan is underway to fix the hole and fully reopen the highway. Agee Construction of Clovis will perform emergency repairs by putting in base rock and other materials to secure the southbound lane.
“Once it’s secured, the lane will be repaved and and opened up,” Burkarth said.
Burkarth said the hole should be repaired by the middle of March, but continued storms may delay the work to a later date.
“This is a significant amount of work that needs to be done,” Burkarth said. “It’s going to be some intensive work.”
If or when the highway is reopened to one-way traffic, Burkarth said drivers should expect delays of around five minutes. The estimated cost of the work could be up to $1 million, Burkarth said.
Drivers, as always, are reminded to “slow for the cone zone” to keep themselves and workers safe during construction.