Local

Highway 59 closes due to failed levee

Saturday, January 01, 2011

This is the second time Highway 59 has closed over the past two weeks. The initial problem was flooding on the roadway. That has since changed. The fields surrounding a portion of the highway are now submerged in water.

For the second time in the past two weeks, drivers in Merced County were forced to take a detour at Highway 59 and Reilly Street.

Bob Nutcher says the detour will add an extra ten minutes to his trip as he heads towards San Jose. "It just sucks, you know, I wanna go straight and go to where I gotta go, but I just gotta come back here and go around."

A series of storms forced the closure of Highway 59 because water from Mariposa Creek flowed across the highway. Sunday, the California Highway Patrol was dealt another blow when the levee breached and water washed over more than six acres of surrounding farmland.

For now, detours have been set up for both north and southbound traffic until the road reopens -- a process C.H.P. says could take days. "If this is still blocked off Monday, it will be a big deal."

Electronic signs have been posted on along Highways 99 and 59 to warn drivers about the closure.

If you're heading south, you'll have to take a detour at Reilly. If you're heading north, the detour starts at Sandy Mush.

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Tags:
merced county, flooding, local, shannon handy
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