On January 22, 2012, an enormous bouder fell across the Big Oak Flat Road just west of the highway 120/140 junction. The National Park Service made a recent announcement that they will be closing the road for a six week period to fix the damage. The road closure begins on February 29th and is expected to continue until early April.
The Park Service released this announcement:
Yosemite National Park announces that the Big Oak Flat Road (Highway 120) within the park will close at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 29, 2012, for the park to repair damage to the road caused by a large rockslide on January 22, 2012. The closure, in effect 24 hours per day, seven days per week, is expected to last until early April. Crews will be working around the clock which necessitates a “hard-closure.”
The road will be closed between the Foresta Road Junction on the Big Oak Flat Road (Highway 120) and the El Portal Road (Highway 140) junction.
Yosemite Valley remains accessible via El Portal Road (Highway 140) coming from Merced/ Mariposa and via Wawona Road (Highway 41) coming from Fresno/ Oakhurst. The Foresta Road, between Foresta and El Portal, is not accessible.
The Big Oak Flat Entrance Station along the Big Oak Flat Road (Highway 120) via Groveland, remains open. Visitors arriving to the park via Highway 120 will have access to Hodgdon Meadows Campground, the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias, the Merced Grove of Giant Sequoias, and the Crane Flat area. Hetch Hetchy also remains accessible along Highway 120.
The park reopened the road five days after the rockslide after removing rocks and debris. However, the damaged section is not paved and needs permanent repairs to allow for safe travel. Working with engineers from the Federal Highways Administration, it was determined that there was extensive structural damage to the roadway necessitating a total rebuild of the affected section. Crews will be working below the steep slope in the rockslide area seven days per week, twenty hours per day, in order to expedite the repair of the damaged section of the road.
The park secured emergency funding for the road repair and is now scheduling these repairs so the work is completed and the road reopened prior to the busy spring and summer seasons.
It is anticipated that the work will be completed before the Easter Weekend. The park will issue periodic updates on the road reconstruction progress and estimated dates for reopening.