Sierra Wave Media

Eastern Sierra News for July 22, 2024






MONO COUNTY – The closure of U.S. 395 that began on Monday, January 9, is set to end this afternoon. Caltrans is planning to reopen the last closed portion of the highway, from the junction of State Route 167 to the town of Bridgeport, today at 1:00 pm. Maintenance crews have worked 24/7 since the storms began clearing snow and ice from more than 75 miles of the highway, as well as State Route 168 E, State Route 158 S (South June Lake Loop), State Route 167, and State Route 182.

To manage the significant amount of snow on the highways and the extended duration of the storms, Caltrans had to truck in snowblowers from other parts of District 9 to help clear Conway Summit, which, as the highest summit on U.S. 395 in Mono County, typically sees more snow than other areas of the highway. Qualified equipment drivers were also brought in from all over District 9 to keep the 24/7 snow-clearing operation flowing.

“These storms severely impacted our district with an intense, rapid accumulation of snow and rain,” said Deputy District Director of Maintenance Terry Erlwein, “leading to avalanches, flooding, and rock and mudslides that affected roadways from Death Valley to the Nevada State Line on U.S. 395. Under the leadership of Any Richard and Clint Weier, crews worked 24/7 to clear roadways and worked alongside our CHP partners to create windows of access for vehicle escorts when possible. I want to thank every Caltrans crew member who contributed, whether they were driving a snowplow, managing an overnight closure point on the highway, or fielding information at our dispatch office. The collective effort of our entire maintenance team has made this reopening possible.”

While the highway is on track to open this afternoon, it’s possible the reopening might be delayed or paused should winds create whiteout conditions. Be sure to follow Caltrans District 9 on Twitter and Facebook for any updates on this reopening.

The National Weather Service has Mono County under a Winter Storm Warning through Tuesday morning. According to the Reno branch of the weather service, Mammoth Mountain (elevation 11,053’) received between 30” – 36” of snow in the last 24 hours while Mono City (elevation 6,768’) received 13” in the same timeframe. With the upcoming storm being colder than the last one, snow levels may drop to valley floors. Up to 6” of snow could drop along U.S. 395 below 8,000 feet, while areas above 8,000 feet may see up to a foot of new snow by Tuesday morning.

Caltrans may announce new closures in Mono County depending on the upcoming storm impacts. Because of this, we recommend all drivers looking to travel on U.S. 395 and over Conway Summit do so at their earliest convenience. Chain controls will likely be in effect, so remember to chain up, slow down, and give yourself enough time to reach your destination.

Caltrans also reminds drivers to move over for Caltrans crews, CHP, and other emergency vehicles. If you come across a snowplow on the highway, create enough space to keep yourself and our snowplow operators safe.

Before you leave home, check the Caltrans website and for the latest on road conditions, chain control restrictions, and more. You can also call the Road Condition Hotline at 1-800-427-ROAD (7623).


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