Crews working to clear Highway 59 after heavy storms shut down roads

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The storm may have brought some relief from the drought, but it's bringing frustration to drivers on Highway 59 (KFSN)

Now that the rain has subsided, Merced County crews are busy Friday trying to clear debris from the road.

The closure at Highway 59 is near Reilly Road, and it happened because Mariposa Creek overflowed during recent rains. The storm may have brought some relief from the drought, but it's bringing frustration to drivers on Highway 59. Caltrans says they're dealing with an immense amount of water near the bridge on the highway.

"It's a major thoroughfare for a lot of people in the county," Mike North with the county said.

Rushing water along the highway caused Caltrans crews to close the road from Sandy Mush to Reilly Road. Pablo Urtiz works in the area and says he's seen it flood before but never like this.

He says the water is causing problems to the nearby land, and Larry Nordman lives near the closure and says this isn't the first time it's flooded.

"We've experienced it two other times," he said. "When it rains real hard in the mountains."

Crews said the Mariposa Creek caused the flooding in the area.

"We're seeing just an immense amount of water coming through the system right now," Warren Alford with Caltrans said. "Even currently, the water is backing up against the roadway."

Caltrans is inspecting the road for any damage to the roadway, but officials say they have to wait until the water recedes.

"Until it drops down and we have the chance to give the road a full inspection and make sure it's fully safe for the public," Alford explained. "We can't open this roadway."

Merced County crews are also working to clear debris from both Mariposa Creek and the other creeks that flow into it, but they're facing some challenges.

"The trouble is that it's a constant battle because when you have these high flows, it's going to feed more debris downstream," North said.

In the meantime, orange cones and signs will continue to greet drivers while crews continue to clear the road to open it back up to motorists.

Caltrans says they do not have a set date on when this road will reopen; however, there is a detour available.
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