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Clearing Continues On The Mother Lode Mountain Passes

Sonora, CA — Due to mostly dry, warmer conditions last winter the local mountain passes were beginning to open by April; this year, however, crews are still busily clearing them.

As previously reported here, Caltrans spokesperson Rick Estrada was hopeful last month that Highway 108 Sonora Pass might at least be ready for motorists clear in time for the opening of trout season on April 30. Alas, it was not to be.

“As we know, State Route 108 over Sonora Pass is open to the Kennedy Meadows gate — I talked with the supervisor overseeing the pass clearing today, and he is hopeful that he will be able to get it open, based on the good weather that we have been seeing, so far,” Estrada states. “Now if another storm comes through, it could still push that back a little, but our goal is to always have that pass open by Memorial Day Weekend so people can get up there in the hills to enjoy themselves,” he adds.

Estrada also shares that his office recently visited some of the clearing operations at the pass levels, which understandably involve many safety precautions that add to the work scope. (To view a portion of the video that he captured, click here.)

While Estrada says has not yet heard back from the head of roadway clearing, repair and maintenance efforts at Highway 4 Ebbetts Pass, plans are presently to also have it open by the Memorial Day holiday, if not before, weather permitting.

Having noted that Estrada points to a possible progress spoiler: a forecast highlighting another batch of incoming wet weather this week; currently, chances of showers and or thunderstorms are being reported through Sunday, with rain likely Thursday night.

According to Yosemite National Park officials, while plowing is underway at Highway 120 Tioga Pass, it is too soon to predict when that stretch might open for the summer season, especially with more inclement weather possible this week.