All Mountain Passes Close in Advance of Winter Storm

By: 
Times Staff Report
Staff Writer

All area local passes will temporarily close by the end of Tuesday, Nov. 19 in advance of an incoming winter storm.

The passes will likely reopen after the storms have passed, weather permitting, according to Caltrans. The passes include Sonora Pass/State Route 108, Tioga Pass/State Route 120, and Ebbetts Pass/State Route 4.

The closures are planned as follows (subject to change depending on actual conditions):
Tioga Pass (SR-120 in Mono County) at the eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park 3:00pm PST on November 19, 2019. Yosemite maintains and operates all roads within the park.
Sonora Pass (SR-108 in Mono, Tuolumne, and Alpine counties) at 6:00pm PST, November 19, 2019.
Ebbetts Pass (SR-4 in Alpine County) at 6 pm PST, November 19, 2019.

The reopening of these routes is dependent upon the impact of the weather. The National Weather Service is forecasting 6”-8” of snow possible over mountain routes necessitating the closure. These closures could last several days or longer. Currently, a decision has not been made regarding Monitor Pass/State Route 89. If a decision is made about Monitor Pass, Caltrans will issue another Traffic Advisory.

Several factors influence the temporary closing and opening and seasonal closures of our mountain pass roadways. Storms, accumulation of snow and overall road conditions are all considered in the decision-making process by Caltrans leadership. For the safety of motorists and Caltrans crews, these passes will be continually assessed until the seasonal closure of each is decided.

WHAT TO KNOW
• Check ahead: Please check local highway conditions before planning to travel to the high country by visiting the Caltrans Quickmap site at http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov or call the California Highway Information Network at 1-800-427-ROAD (7623). Also, the radio may be tuned to the Caltrans Highway Advisory Radio (HAR) at 530 AM, 1610 AM or 1670 AM for information.
For road conditions in Yosemite National Park, please visit https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/conditions.htm or call (209) 372-0200.
• Be prepared: Winter weather and road conditions can change rapidly. All vehicles, including those with four-wheel drive or snow tires should carry chains/traction control devices when traveling during snowy weather.
• Drivers without chains in their possession may not be allowed to proceed. When highway signs indicate that chains are required, drivers must stop and install chains or risk being cited and fined.
• Motorists should expect the worst conditions and be prepared when traveling in areas subject to hazardous conditions. We recommend carrying blankets, water, food, a shovel, gloves, a flashlight, and sand or kitty litter to provide traction in case your vehicle becomes stuck.
• Drivers without chains in their possession may not be allowed to proceed. When highway signs indicate that chains are required, drivers must stop and install chains or risk being cited and fined.

CONTROL REQUIREMENT LEVELS:
No Restrictions: Watch for snow on pavement.
R-1: Chains are required on all commercial vehicles (large trucks or buses). All other vehicles must have either snow tread tires or chains on the drive axle.
R-2: Chains are required on all vehicles except four-wheel drives with snow tread tires. Four-wheel drive vehicles must carry chains in the vehicle.
R-3: Chains required – ALL VEHICLES – no exceptions.

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