YOSEMITE VALLEY, Calif. – Winter’s historic season across the West is still causing headaches for visitors to Yosemite National Park, with the main route from Central California to the scenic natural area still shut down due to debris and safety issues.
Over the winter, a series of storm systems dislodged gigantic boulders along the mountainside of State Route 120, which connects Yosemite to areas east of Modesto.
Staff with the California Department of Transportation recently recorded video of the efforts to clear the roadway of snow and rocks and said they do not have a timeline for the route to reopen.
“It’s a common occurrence that every single year we have rockslides that we have to clear, but this process is going to take longer than the past few years when we barely had any snow,” said Caltrans spokesperson Christopher Andriessen.
Crews have used excavators to remove the rocks and have previously resorted to using explosives to help clear the large boulders.
Andriessen said that once the boulders are cleared, hillside inspections will take place to ensure that rock curbs are able to reduce any threats posed by loose rocks.
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Park rangers are also warning about a large crack that has developed along the roadway that is 200 feet long and four feet deep.
Yosemite National Park staff said they are working with the Federal Highway Administration on repairs that could possibly take until July to complete.
The park can still be accessed, but according to locals, detours are adding several hours to trips.
Flooding in the park itself has also caused large sections of campgrounds to close due to the historic snowfall melt.
Rangers estimated the site received double the amount of snowfall it usually receives during the winter.
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Although Yosemite is open year-round, 75% of visits to its nearly 1,200 square miles of protected lands happen from May through October.
More than 3 million people visit the national park each year to take in the sights of waterfalls, gigantic monoliths and historic sequoias.
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