2 options narrowed down after Mariposa County rockslide

February 13, 2013 12:43:18 AM PST
A community crippled by a rockslide seven years ago is seeing improvements. But residents say there's still plenty of work to be done. A short-term solution has been in place since then, while crews with Caltrans work on a permanent solution. Two options have been narrowed down and presented to the county board of supervisors.

In video from 2006, several thousand tons of rock fell on Highway 140, in Mariposa County. The Ferguson rock slide closed off the route between Mariposa and Yosemite for several months.

Since then, two temporary bridges have been used to take traffic on 140 around the rock slide area, causing some traffic backup.

A permanent solution has been in the works for years. And on Tuesday, the county board of supervisors heard plans for two different proposals.

"These are the 2 that are moving forward because of the least environmental impact, so we're not impacting the wild and scenic river, which was a critical issue that came up earlier."

Option one would place a rock-shed structure over the existing 140. Right through where the rock slide is now. The price would be $52 million.

"The rock shed is designed to take forces from any rocks falling from above."

The second option is building a tunnel through the mountain, around the rock slide area, costing $120 million.

"Construction time they're pretty similar, although the rock-shed we're estimating to take about 2 years to construct while the tunnel about 3 years."

But it's not a done deal just yet. Caltrans still needs to hear from the public about both proposals before finalizing a plan.

"The two alternatives that they've come down to are quite interesting and I think particularly viable."

Supervisors expressed satisfaction that the plan was moving forward, steps that will help Mariposa financially.

"The 140 corridor into Yosemite is like the financial, the aorta of the financial cardiovascular system of Mariposa County."


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