Highway 49 shut down for two more weeks

MARIPOSA COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Road closure signs and barricades will stay blocking Highway 49 for a little longer as Caltrans continues to make repairs.

The major roadway was supposed to open up on Friday, but the closure was extended after crews noticed several areas where the pavement was separating from the roadway.

"It's supposed to be more of a long-term solution than we were able to do so last year," said Thomas Lawrence of Caltrans District 10.

Lawrence says a lot of it is due from recent storms.

He says the Detwiler Fire scorched parts of the highway in 2017.

Less than a year later, heavy rains caused washouts, leading to another closure and series of emergency repairs.

They're now hoping to install more permanent fixes.

"This specific project is doing more comprehensive work including putting plastic mesh called geogrid under the road and metal nets on slopes anchored down to prevent more rocks and debris from coming on the roadway."

While Caltrans says it's needed for safety, it also means drivers have to take a long detour.

Owner of the Bon Ton café, William Decker, is just miles from the closure and is feeling the impact.

He says on Thursday, he only made $35 in the entire day.

"I don't have the tourists anymore. The local community that used to dine with me from Coulterville, Greley Hill, even Don Pedro... is having to go all the way around an extra half-hour drive if they want to come here."

Commuters that drive between Coulterville and Mariposa are having to add 45 minutes to an hour to their drive time.

Caltrans officials say it's all for public safety, but Decker is just hoping there aren't any more delays.

"I was blessed with my location, just not blessed with the road closure."

The roadway is scheduled to open back on May 23.
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