Jan. 9 Update: The El Portal Road section of Highway 140 in Yosemite National Park is open to traffic once again.
The road has been closed since Thursday due to a rockslide. Yosemite National Park Rangers and road crews worked extended shifts to clear the rocks and debris.
Motorists are urged to be cautious as crews and equipment may still be present. There are also chain requirements in roadways around Yosemite National Park.
Jan. 8 Update: Yosemite National Park crews have started clearing the rockfall that blocked Highway 140 Thursday morning.
Park and U.S. Geological Survey staff surveyed the site and declared it safe to begin removing the rocks and debris.
The clearing should take several days and there's no anticipate day for the road to reopen.
“The National Park Service realizes the critical nature of the Highway 140 entrance into the park,” Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher said in a press release. “We are working diligently to get the road work safely accomplished.”
All park services remain open and operational. The park is still accessible by enterances along Highways 41 and 120. There are current chain restrictions on on many roads within the park.
For the most current road conditions, please call 209-372-0200. Press option “1” and then “1” again to go directly to the road conditions report.
Boulders the size of cars tumbled down onto Highway 140 east of Mariposa about a mile outside the Arch Rock entrance to the park.
The area was damaged by fire a year ago, and the recent storms may have led to the rock slide.
Park Ranger Ashley Mayer says tourists can still come into the park from Highway 120 to the north, or Highway 41 from the south.
"I think it's really important for folks to know the park remains open and again there are alternate routes and they need to just add a little more travel time to their plans,"says Mayer.
Yosemite is now covered with snow.
Noel Morrison with the Mariposa Tourism Bureau says many people are visiting the park.
"You know we haven't had snow in awhile and definitely seeing heavier visitation than we've seen in previous years from this time of year," says Morrison.
For some going to the park it could take an extra hour or more of travel time.