Caltrans is spending an estimated $3 million to close and repair a section of Highway 132 in Tuolumne County, a couple miles west of where a section of the same rural road was torn out by runoff from a March 22 megastorm.

The closure in Tuolumne County will be 24 hours a day through early October, according to Caltrans District 10 staff. Work began Wednesday this week. Marked detours for motorists traveling east and west are available.

The work is necessary to replace a 10-foot-diameter, 100-foot-long storm drain under the road that was damaged by the same March 22 megastorm.

The damaged storm drain is about 1.5 miles east of Bonds Flat Road and one mile west of Merced Falls Road.

Caltrans District 10 staff say repairs on this storm drain were delayed until after Labor Day to minimize impacts on the region’s economically critical summer tourism season. Highways 132 and 49 were both closed for extended periods after the March 22 megastorm, and the Ferguson Fire near El Portal further restricted public travel in the area in July and August while Yosemite National Park was closed due to the 151-square-mile blaze.

Workers plan to remove the damaged metal storm drain and replace it with a new concrete culvert the same size as the damaged one.

The roadway will need to remain closed due to an open trench required to remove the damaged pipeline and install the replacement pipeline. The damaged storm drain is buried 30 feet under the road.

Ford Construction of Lodi has the $3 million contract for the month-long job. Caltrans staff say motorists should expect 15-minute delays. The signed detours include use of Merced Falls Road.

Contact Guy McCarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemocrat.com or 588-4585. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.

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