Drivers urged to abide by road closures as repairs continue across Valley

Kate Nemarich Image
Thursday, April 6, 2023
Valley drivers urged to abide by road closures after storms
EMBED <>More Videos

The severe storms have stopped for now but the impacts of the rain, snowmelt, and flooding remain a major problem.

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- The severe storms have stopped for now but the impacts of the rain, snowmelt, and flooding remain a major problem across the Valley.

On Wednesday morning, the California Highway Patrol shared photos of a car in a massive hole in Road 28 1/2 near Avenue 21 in Madera.

The car is out of the hole, but ABC30 saw drivers passing the barriers repeatedly Wednesday afternoon.

Officer Anthony Daulton with California Highway Patrol says those barriers are there for a reason and shouldn't be ignored.

"A lot of places you can't actually see the roadway, which is why those barriers are up there because there could potentially be washouts, there could be debris in the roadway, there could be things that otherwise you might not be able to see because of the flooding that's there," said Daulton.

That damage might not be apparent from where the road closure start, says Francisco Benitez with Tulare County Fire.

"The problem with that is, people are seeing the roadblock signs, but they're not seeing the water, because the water is half mile quarter mile away until they go around the road blocks, and they figure they can get across the water and they realize they can't," said Benitez.

Benitez says calls for water rescues have slowed down, but they're still getting calls every other day.

"We have a swift water rescue team that is on standby, and that's a team about 7 to 9 people. They have inflatable boats, one with an engine, the other one without," explained Benitez.

While the teams will rescue you from the car, Benitez says your car may have to sit there until the water recedes and a tow truck can pull it out, delaying repairs and you getting your car back.

No matter if there's a barrier or closure, the biggest advice is to use caution.

"If there's tree branches, rock slides, anything like that that's impeding your travel. Do your best to simply avoid it because you never know what's on the other side, it could be worse," Daulton said.

For news updates, follow Kate Nemarich on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.