Ebbetts Pass, CA Open to Lake Alpine and Sonora Pass to Kennedy Meadows in Time for Fishmas!

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Crews working to get past the east gate of Lake Alpine. Credit: Mike Johnson Caltrans, District 10

California Department of Transportation has removed the snow, cleared the debris and made the necessary repairs to open 8,736-foot State Route 4/Ebbetts Pass to the east end of Lake Alpine on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, at 7:30 a.m. The diligent work of Caltrans crews enabled the opening this section of the highway in time for the beginning of trout fishing season.

Related: CalTrans Hopes To Have Ebbetts & Sonora Passes OPEN By The Friday Before Memorial Day Weekend

Caltrans District 10 manages three trans-Sierra passes in the central Sierra that are closed during winter and generally open in spring: Ebbetts Pass/SR-4 in Alpine County, Sonora Pass/SR-108 (Tuolumne County) and Monitor Pass/SR-89 (Alpine County).

Crews have reached the point where they are getting into the higher elevations and encountering deep drifts in the effort to get the Sierra routes open for the summer season. As of 7:30 a.m. April 22, 2019, Highway 108/Sonora Pass is open to Kennedy Meadows. The folks at Kennedy Meadows say they’ll be ready by “Fishmas Eve”- this Friday, April 26, 2019, in time for trout season’s opening day.

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Looking back at the snocat used to scout the route for clearing the Sonora Pass. Credit: Dan McHoul Caltrans, District 10

Acting Supervisor from the Long Barn Maintenance yard, Dan McHoul reports that his crews are now working their way up Sonora Pass.

“You know it will be a grind as we are seeing anywhere from 5’-6 feet at the 8,000’ elevation mark”, said McHoul. “There is 15’-20 feet of snow on the road and possibly even more near the summit, not including drifts- rocks and debris are a concerning issue as well.”

Caltrans’ goal is to get the road open before Memorial Day weekend. McHoul says that despite the deep snows, they are hoping to push through and get the highway completely open as soon as possible, although late-season storms, unexpected road damage and other factors can sometimes hinder this goal.

For the latest in highway information please check http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov or call our Road Condition Hotline at 1-800-427-ROAD (7623).

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