All lanes of NB HWY 99 in Merced Co. reopened after sinkhole forced closure

FRESNO, Calif.

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A northbound lane that had been closed all day near Collier Road, reopened around 10-pm, which is actually days earlier than expected. Cal Trans said the sink hole wasn't as bad as they had initially thought.

Before Cal Trans reopened the right hand lane along Highway 99 in Livingston Friday, a line of bumper to bumper traffic stretched nearly four miles long.

Carlos Oliva said, "We have about a six hour trip, but I'm thinking it's going to be an 8 to a 9 hour trip, ha ha."

How frustrating is it?

Susan Gerkin said, "Frustrating because everyone is trying to block you off and I mean, I don't even know, if they're working on the road or not."

Illuminated signs alerted drivers about a deep sink hole, and urged them to take an alternate route. A message some, simply ignored.

David Perezselsky said, "I just saw that it was stopped traffic, be prepared to stop. So, I was prepared. At least I knew it was coming."

Cal Tran's crews shut down the lane between Winton Parkway and Collier Road around 10:15 Friday morning.

Initially, they thought the sink hole was 10 feet deep and 14 feet wide and that it would take up to a week to fix. But, when crews started repairing the road, they discovered it was only six to eight feet deep, and close to five feet wide.

Daniel Eckles with Cal Trans said, "In other words, it wasn't as extensive. It had the potential to be a larger problem and we found that it was localized in that area."

Cal Tran's officials don't know the exact cause of the sink hole. At this point, they believe the underground drainage system failed during Friday's storm.

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