Road closure in Huron frustrates residents
HURON, Calif. (KFSN) -- In the Fresno County community of Huron, city officials are getting frustrated by constant problems on a main highway into town. Heavy rain consistently shuts down Highway 269 into the city in the southwestern corner of the county.
No one is driving down Highway 269 for at least the next week. Heavy mud and flooding have shut down this main artery into town. Huron city officials hope the state will finally start making more permanent repairs to the highway.
With the latest weather forecast showing rain throughout most of this week, people here are worried that the already mud-slicked and flooded Highway 269 will suffer even more damage.
Sgt. Chad McMullen said, "Well basically as reflectors but we use these markers also to measure this water when this floods over as you can see they're three feet, three and a half feet tall and basically as you look out there now, one of the markers is under water."
Since 1976, Highway 269 into Huron has been shut down more than 600 days because of flooding. Since November, more than thirty days. Huron city officials say the highway is the main artery into town. 269 is also a state-designated "goods movement corridor" which means it's a vital road for shipment of local ag products.
Huron City Manager, Gerald Forde said, "Either going west south east or north so yeah it's a significant impact on the community."
Every time Caltrans has to come out and fix the highway-it costs $50 thousand. And local officials estimate the annual cost to the public at close to $300 thousand.
City Manager Gerald Forde is hoping Caltrans will build an elevated highway over the area, to prevent future flooding. But, the $30 million project isn't on Caltran's priority list this year.
Jose Camarena said, "So unfortunately there is a lot of competition and priority whenever money comes available again working with our local partners we're doing the best we can do get the funding that requires to get a big fix out there."
Caltrans hopes to build the elevated highway, with the help of about $15 million in Fresno County Measure "C" transportation funds, within the next six years. That's too long for people here in Huron, especially with another storm system in the forecast.
City officials will be meeting with Caltrans and the Fresno County Council of Governments on Thursday, to discuss the problem. The public is invited to the meeting that night at 5:30.
flooding, storm, fresno county, huron, local, jessica peres
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