Caltrans hopes crews can clear Highway 59 flooding near Merced during clear weather

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Caltrans says it's been a constant battle because each storm has continued to bring more water while not allowing the water levels to get low enough for crews to be able to look for damage. (KFSN)

A portion of a major highway in Merced remains closed as it continues to flood. Highway 59 is still closed to drivers as Mariposa Creek continues to spill water.

Highway 59 has been closed for several weeks now after recent rain caused flooding along the highway. Caltrans says it's been a constant battle because each storm has continued to bring more water while not allowing the water levels to get low enough for crews to be able to look for damage.

While of the rain has tapered off, the road closure signs will stay along Highway 59 a little longer. The recent torrential rain caused the water along the Mariposa Creek Bridge to flood again and forced Caltrans to keep the road closed.

"It's frustrating for all of us," Warren Alford with Caltrans said.

The closure is blocking the normal route for drivers but it's also affecting the people who do business nearby. Ron Dutra works for Bowsmith, and he says he uses the highway to get customers but has had to change his route.

"It's just been an inconvenience," he said. "That road is the main shot from here to 152."

Dutra says he's had to reschedule some customers. One of Dutra's clients is Agri-Valley Irrigation, which is located just feet away from the closure.

Nick Oh with the company says the problem hasn't been with deliveries going out, but rather, coming in.

"Truck drivers who aren't from around here don't know the roads," he explained. "So, they don't know the routes coming in and call us asking for different ways to get in here."

Caltrans said crews have inspected and cleared the roadway, but they still need the water near the bridge to get lower so they can inspect the bridge itself.

"We are seeing it drop a little bit but we're going to have to see it get below the bridge," Alford explained.

The closure is about 14 miles long, stretching from Sandy Mush to West Dickenson Ferry. The detour takes drivers along the west side of the highway. The department doesn't know the cost of the closure yet but said it all adds up.

"We have crews that are staffing the barricades," Alford said. "We've also had to establish the route then work to clear the roadway."

Caltrans hopes to open the road by the end of the week, but all both crews and drivers can do now is wait. The detour was previously on Healy Road before they changed it to the current detour.

Crews say they are working quickly to get it open by the end of this week but said safety is their number one priority.

Related Topics:
traffictrafficfloodingweathercaltransmerced countyMerced
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