Madera Co officials monitor damaged roads

MERCED COUNTY, Calif.

The hole at Road 36 has grown significantly since it first appeared on Wednesday. The California Highway Patrol is keeping a close eye on this area, as well as others in the North Valley as more rain continues to move in.

The large gaping hole on Road 36 near Avenue 11 in Madera County is causing a traffic headache for nearby residents and drivers. The road collapsed Wednesday after an old pipe that runs underneath failed during stormy weather.

On Saturday road closure signs remained in the area. It's something Sergeant Shane Ferriera with the California Highway Patrol says drivers should expect to encounter for quite some time. "Well, I don't have the exact time it's going to take to fix that area but, hopefully, folks will get used to using an alternate route and they'll get it fixed as quickly as they can."

In Merced County, water continued to wash over Highway 59 near Reilly Street. The road has been closed twice in the past two weeks because water from Mariposa Creek overflowed onto the highway.

On Saturday the situation got worse when the levee breached and water flooded more than six acres of surrounding farmland.

Drivers like Bob Natcher of Merced were forced to take a detour, which added an extra ten minutes on his trip to San Jose. "You know, I wanna go straight and go to where I gotta go. But, I just have to come back here and go around. If this is still blocked on Monday, it's going to be a big deal."

With more rain expected, the CHP is urging drivers to use caution and common sense. Officers will continue to monitor the already damaged roads as well as prepare for additional storm-related damage over the next few days.

"We are. Actually all county roads and highways, we're on the lookout for any areas that may be flooded or we may see an increase in standing water. If we do see that, we'll contact county roads or Cal Trans that come out with signs or whatever they can do to get people to slow down," said Sergeant Shane Ferriera.

Highway 59 in Merced County will likely reopen in the next few days. Road 36 on the other hand, will take weeks, if not months to repair.

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