New Policy On Closing Old Priest Grade To Impact Travelers
Groveland, CA – A new Tuolumne County Public Works policy will stop travelers from taking Old Priest Grade in the Groveland area when bad weather creates safety hazards.
The newly adopted plan, which goes into effect today (Tuesday, January 14), lists the guidelines to be followed and identifies the criteria to be met in determining the opening and closing of the roadway. The 1.89-mile county-maintained road with some sections that exceed a 15 percent grade, stretches from Moccasin Road and ends at Highway 120.
One key hazard relates to chilly winter temperatures when the roadway can become icy if temperatures dip below about 37 degrees Fahrenheit. The county does not like using road salt over concerns it could harm local waterways and groundwater in the immediate area.
The goal is to keep the roadway open year-round. Public works officials provide the conditions below that are required for the new policy to be enacted:
- when the weather forecast is 37 degrees Fahrenheit or less,
- or if excess water, snow, frost or icy conditions are observed on the road,
- or, if debris and boulders have fallen onto the road.
Public works officials advise that the grade will reopen at the discretion of the Road Superintendent only if the following has occurred:
- snow and/or debris removal if applicable,
- or, salt or similar de-icing material has been applied to the road, and the frost or ice appears to be mitigated.