Crews from the Madera County Road Department continued work Wednesday on the hole on School Road (427) that broke open this week near Oakhurst Elementary School, with hopes to complete the repairs and have the roadway fully reopened Thursday evening.
Ahmad Alkhayyat, the county’s public works director, said a 24-inch culvert under the roadway rotted out, necessitating it be dug out and replaced.
“It’s just an old, rotted out pipe that had a hole on top of it and after this wet winter, the area below the road became unstable and broke open,” Alkhayyat said.
The hole started as 12 inches in diameter, shortly north of the intersection with School Road and Pierce Drive. But by Wednesday, road workers had to dig about five or six feet down into the earth, and several feet across, in order to reach the affected portions of the roadway.
Despite that, Alkhayyat said the repairs should go quickly due to drier weather, even with some light rain in the Mountain Area Wednesday morning.
“The goal is to have the road open sometime Thursday, by 5 p.m. at the latest,” Alkhayyat said.
For detours, drivers can still access Oakhurst Elementary School from the Crane Valley Road (426) intersection while work is underway. For those needing to get to Oak Creek Intermediate or Yosemite High School from that intersection, they are advised to make a right on Pierce Drive, then a left on Elliott Drive to return to School Road. The same detour is suggested for those traveling towards Crane Valley Road from either location, or drivers can take Road 428 to Hangtree Lane, which will return them to Crane Valley Road.
Crews will fill the hole with a mix of gravel, asphalt, and other typical repair materials before it can be repaved and reopened, Alkhayyat said.
The cost of the project is about $10,000 - $15,000, Alkhayyat said, with no impact to the county’s general fund as it budgets for road maintenance projects each year.