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Freeing Up Traffic Backup On New Priest Grade

Tuolumne County, CA – Caltrans wants to give motorists a break from getting stuck behind Big Rigs, RVs, and trucks pulling trailers — or all three – while heading up New Priest Grade/Highway 120.

Sharp curves along the roadway, which is marked with no-passing stripes, prevent motorists from legally passing slower vehicles. To help ease the congestion on the steep, two lane and heavily tourist traveled gateway to Yosemite National Park, Caltrans is planning three vehicle turnouts on the eastbound lane. Caltrans spokesperson Rick Estrada details, “Caltrans will construct three turnouts, each 500 feet long and 15 feet wide. This will allow slow-moving vehicles to temporarily move into the pullout, allowing other vehicles to pass before the slow-moving vehicle returns to the roadway.”

The project is slated to start Monday, July 17 with crews working weekdays from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. There will be one way-traffic control in place. Drivers should expect ten-minute delays.

The cost of the project is $287,598, contracted with George Reed Inc. out of Modesto. Caltrans hopes to have the work completed by October, weather and available equipment/materials permitting.