Sonora mail trucks

Mail trucks parked for the evening behind the U.S. Post Office on South Washington Street in Sonora.

The United States Postal Service is diverting mail on certain routes from the Sonora Post Office on South Washington Street to neighboring post offices in an effort to help customers more easily retrieve their mail amid delivery challenges created by the recent storms, the agency announced in a news release Tuesday.

Mail will be available to pick up between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. beginning Wednesday at the following alternate locations:

• Downtown Sonora Post Office at 83 S. Stewart St., Sonora — customers who live on Rural Route 3 in the Cedar Ridge area, with surrounding streets of Elizabeth Lane, McKamey Court, and north of Big Hill, and on Rural Route 9 in the Upper Crystal Falls area, with surrounding streets of Longeway Road, South Fork Road, and Allison Way. Shelly Jones, the office’s supervisor, can be reached at (209) 533-0814.

• Jamestown Post Office at 18303 Main St., Jamestown — customers who live on Rural Route 7 in the Lower Crystal Falls and Sonora Meadows areas. Postmaster Sandra Black can be reached at (209) 984-5864.

• Columbia Post Office at 22628 Parrots Ferry Road, Columbia — customers who live on Rural Route 10 in the Phoenix Lake area, with surrounding streets of Phoenix Lake Road, Fall View Drive, Nile River Drive, Colorado River Drive and Hidden Valley Lane. Postmaster Mark Rhinehart can be reached at (209) 532-7557.

All customers should bring proper photo identification with them when they go to pick up their mail, the USPS said.

“Customers are encouraged to call the local post office for more information,” the release stated. “We thank our customers for their patience and understanding during these challenging weather conditions. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”

Tuolumne County residents have raised complaints about problems they’ve experienced with mail delivery over the past week-plus of storms. 

Access Tuolumne, the county’s public-access TV station, posted on its Facebook page on Friday morning that a worker at the Sonora Post Office said they had a backlog of “at least 14,000 parcels” and were prioritizing those containing medications.

Meiko Patton, a USPS spokesperson, said that the number of undelivered packages on hand at the Sonora Post Office “is nowhere near the exaggerated number you were given,” in response to an inquiry from The Union Democrat on Tuesday.

“I don’t have an exact number to give you, but, yes we are prioritizing medications,” Patton said.

Patton said the USPS is bringing in extra help to deliver all mail still on hand, including packages.

The USPS also put out a new release Friday stating that patches of ice and snow piled up on sidewalks, driveways and in front of mailboxes were also impeding delivery in the county and asked residents to help keep pathways clear for carriers.

Here are a few ways the USPS said people can help keep carriers safe and improve access for delivery:

• Clear enough snow from curbside boxes to allow mail trucks to approach the box, deliver the mail, and to drive away from the box without danger or the need for backing.

• Walkways should be cleared of snow and ice and allow enough traction to avoid slips, trips, or falls.

• Steps should also be kept clear of ice and snow and in good repair so as not to cause injury to the letter carriers or others who visit the customer’s home.

• Overhangs should be clear and free of snow and ice to avoid injury.

• Leave a light on, if possible, to illuminate walkways and porches.

• Add a street address to mailboxes so they’re easier for carriers to find.

Contact Alex MacLean at or (209) 588-4541.