Highway 168 closure could last three weeks due to rockslides

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif.

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An electronic road sign on Highway 168 notifies drivers to take Auberry Road if they want to go up to Shaver Lake. This is just one of two alternate routes set up by Caltrans to get to the mountain town.

Businesses like "Ken's market" tell Action News the detours haven't stopped them from receiving their precious supplies. Same goes for Norman Kato who owns the Shaver Lake Coffee and Deli.

"They should be able to go through Auberry Road and up the backside there. I don't think there's any problems there. I've seen some big rigs today so it shouldn't be a problem for them." said Kato.

Drivers are having to take the detours because of an enormous rockslide on Highway 168.

It covers all four lanes of Highway 168 and geology experts say things could get worse before it gets better. This large boulder could be the next big thing to go tumbling down.

"In this position it looks leaned back into the slope. Walking up next to it it's kind of leaning out pretty good and thus I think it would be safer to keep this roadway closed." said engineering geologist Brandon Badeker.

We caught up with these two ladies on their way back from China Peak. They didn't seem to mind the longer drive -- in fact they enjoyed it.

"It was fine. Perfect. No problem. Roads were good and clear. So we made it in perfect time."

The detour through Auberry is also being welcomed by some local businesses there. Verdasco's Mexican restaurant stayed open an extra hour Monday because of the increase in customers.

"A lot of people who usually go in the evenings having to go grocery shopping towards Prather from Shaver have to come this way and they figure why not stop, because there's a grocery store across the street too" said Angelica Ortiz.

People headed up to Shaver Lake taking Tollhouse Road or Auberry Road can expect at least 15-30 minutes added to their drive time.

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