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Caltrans Clears Mountain Passes Each Spring to Open High-Altitude State Highways for Spring and Summer Travel

Caltrans News Flash #78 - Obstacles ranging from trees to 300-ton boulders tumble onto closed roadways during winter

Date: May 3, 2016
District: District 10
Contact: Rick Estrada
Phone: (209) 941-6562

STOCKTON – In this Caltrans News Flash, you get a front-row seat as Caltrans maintenance crews clear highways, cutting through steep and narrow mountain passes, including the Sonora pass in Tuolumne County, and the Ebbetts and Monitor passes in Alpine County.

Snow and ice must be shoved off the road, rocks and debris must be removed, brush has to be cut back and sometimes 300-ton boulders must be blasted before the highway is safe for public travel. These mountain passes typically close in the fall, and Caltrans begins clearing the passes in April.

Weather conditions can change quickly in the mountains and vehicles should carry the correct chains, as well as blankets, water, food, a shovel, flashlights and gloves. Carry sand/kitty litter, as well, to provide traction should your vehicle become stuck.

Motorists should check road conditions on the Caltrans QuickMap at, calling the Caltrans Highway Information Network at (800) 427-7623 or tuning in to California Highway Advisory Radio.

This video may also be viewed at:

This News Flash is the 78th in a series of videos highlighting Caltrans' activities that present the wide-ranging and critical work that Caltrans does to enhance California's economy and livability. To see more of these and other videos, search for #CaltransNewsFlash on Twitter or visit Caltrans News Flash on YouTube (

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Contact Information

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General Information Line: (916) 654-2852

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Physical Address:

California Department of Transportation
1120 N Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

Mailing Address:

California Department of Transportation
1120 N Street
MS 49
Sacramento, CA 95814

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