Highway 140 between Mariposa and Yosemite now open

MARIPOSA, Calif. (KFSN) -- A 17-mile stretch of Highway 140 in Mariposa County is now open on Thursday after the potential risk of mudslides brought on by the latest storm led Caltrans officials to shut it down on Wednesday.

Many businesses depend on visitors getting to Yosemite, and they welcomed the opening.

"We depend on the park. The park closes or the road closes to the park, it slows the whole town down and then we are just relying on the locals to stay afloat," says Randy Wimmer of the 1850 Restaurant and Brewery.

Tourism to Yosemite is the main industry in Mariposa County and on average nearly 9,000 vehicles enter the park on highway 140 every day.

Its estimated tourists spend more than $500 million every year in communities around the park, so keeping the roads and the park open is the key to keeping them coming.

The closure on Wednesday began in Bear Creek near Midpines all the way to Foresta Road in El Portal about four miles west of the Yosemite National Park entrance.

Burn scars left over from last summer's Ferguson Fire have covered the hillside and are making the conditions dangerous for travelers during the storm.
Copyright © 2020 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.