Caltrans Crews Work to Clear SR-108 of Massive Snowpack
Patience Appreciated as Crews Work Seven Days a Week
MONO & TUOLUMNE COUNTIES – Maintenance crews from the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) Districts 9 and 10 have successfully cleared more than 13 miles of the massive snowpack on State Route 108 (SR-108)/Sonora Pass since early April. District 9 crews are working to clear the pass from the eastern portion in Mono County, while District 10 crews work to clear the western portion in Tuolumne County, to open the route as soon as possible.
Crew members face downed trees, rock, and mud slides, buried in a deep, dense snowpack, which require extra time to clear on a very narrow road with limited visibility and steep drop-offs. These conditions normally prohibit large truck traffic on the route, so operating snow removal equipment requires skill and patience. Upon reaching higher elevations – on the way to Sonora Pass’s summit at 9,624 feet – the depth of the snow on the highway will increase, as will the likelihood of more roadway interference.
Crews are working seven days a week battling the near-record snowfall that occurred between late December and early May. According to estimates, the snowpack is nearly 200 percent higher than an average year, 250 percent more than recent drought years and as deep as 30 feet in some areas.
“We ask the traveling public for their patience,” said Dennis T. Agar, District 10 Director. “Our crews are working hard to open the roadways in a safe manner after these remarkable winter storms.”
“We live up here and want to enjoy the lakes, streams, and other aspects of nature’s beauty, just like everyone else,” said maintenance lead Josh Markl. “But we need to do this safely. Please be patient. We’ll have it open as soon as we possibly can.”
Timely seasonal closing and opening of the Central Sierra snow passes are determined based on the consideration of public and worker safety, weather conditions, and existing snow levels. Actual closing and opening dates vary from year to year.
With the spring and summer travel season upon us, plan your trip with the Quickmap app or website at quickmap.dot.ca.gov or call the Road Condition Hotline at 1-800-427-ROAD (7623).
Current Caltrans information can also be found on each district’s social media sites.