Rockslide closes Highway 41 in Madera County, no estimate on reopening

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A rockslide Wednesday afternoon forced both lanes to be shutdown on Highway 41 near Rocky Cut in Madera County.

Caltrans officials said the rain may be to blame. They also said a freeze and thaw pattern tends to make rocks on the hillside shift. 

There are detours but officials could not say when the roadway will reopen. 

Geologists are being called in to look at the hillside Thursday morning, and that’s when they’ll have a better idea of a timeframe. 

“Just driving up to the casino and there’s a roadblock. I kind of thought maybe there was an accident, but I can see why there’d be a rockslide now,” motorist Tiffany Fletcher said. 

The boulders in the roadway forced a full closure due to safety concerns.

“We have two hard closures, one is at State Route 145 and (Highway) 41 and the other ones up at Road 200 and (Highway) 41,” Sgt. Lloyd Pratt with the Madera CHP said. 

“This area is known for some slides periodically. We try to get down here as quick as we can and get it removed and cleaned up,” Adam Wimberley a Caltrans maintenance supervisor said. 

But this time, there’s no saying when it’ll reopen. 

“Due to the weather conditions. All the rain we’ve had and the rain coming, we would like to get our geologist to come down here and check and make sure everything’s safe up above before we open it back up to traffic,” Wimberley said. He said experts are coming from Sacramento to survey the area, before giving a green light. 

“That’s going to be problems for traffic in the mornings. I feel sorry for them. People going to work coming down, the commute from the hill. It’s going to be a problem,” Fletcher said.  

Detours are in place.

“You can either go up through Raymond out of Madera, up Raymond road. That’s a good road. You can take the detour it’s going to be 41 to road 200 up 211,” Wimberley said. 

Officials said alternate routes will be busy, so be patient and plan ahead. 

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