Highway 168 under one-way traffic control, incoming storm slowing clean up

Jessica Harrington Image
Thursday, January 5, 2023
Highway 168 under one-way traffic control, incoming storm slowing clean up
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Highway 168 at the four lanes has reopened. Caltrans has a portion of the road under one-way traffic control, but residents are happy to see it open again.

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Highway 168 at the four lanes has reopened.

Caltrans has a portion of the road under one-way traffic control, but residents are happy to see it open again.

Caltrans workers were flagging vehicles through as a pilot car led drivers past a large pile of debris from Saturday's rockslide.

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Just up the hill, the town of Shaver Lake was quiet.

But having Highway 168 open again is helpful for Kathy Reiring who lives in the area.

She's been having to take the long way around to get to her job at Shaver Lake Sports.

"A 20-minute commute turned into about a little over an hour," Reiring said.

She says the closure, thankfully, didn't impact business too much.

However, the weather is unlike anything she's seen since she moved to the area 5 years ago.

"I think this is the first time I can remember them being back to back to back together like this. Doesn't give you much time to recover in-between." Reiring said.

Caltrans says contractors are working around the clock to get the boulders off the road.

As of now, they don't think they'll have to use explosives to remove them.

"It's considered a soft rock, so it should be able to be broken down by hammer alone." Caltrans District 6 Public Information Officer Elizabeth Yelton said.

But the Caltrans scaling team does need to repel down the side of the hill one more time to check for loose rock.

They're hoping to do that on Friday.

"We have postponed scaling operations because of the weather that's coming in. That something we can't do with the weather. " Yelton said.

For residents like Reiring, she's hopeful the incoming storm brings snow to draw tourists and doesn't leave behind too much damage.

"We're hoping we don't have any more road impacts. We want everybody to be safe, but then after it clears, come up. Come enjoy it." Reiring said.

Caltrans officials say Highway 168 will remain under one-way traffic control for the foreseeable future.

They'll keep evaluating as the next storm moves through.

However, even after the boulders are removed from the ground, crews will have to evaluate the road underneath to see if it needs any repairs.

Caltrans says to make sure you give yourself extra time if you're driving through. Wait times could reach up to 20 minutes.