Highway 395 opened on Sunday afternoon, though snowy conditions have the California Highway Patrol escorting motorists to the southern June Lake Loop intersection this morning, according to roads.dot.ca.gov
The highway was closed south of Bridgeport for a week on Jan. 9, as California Department of Transportation crews cleared snow and ice from a 75-mile stretch of the highway.
“To manage the significant amount of snow on the highways and the extended duration of the storms, Caltrans had to truck in snowblowers from other parts of District 9 to help clear Conway Summit, which, as the highest summit on Highway 395 in Mono County, typically sees more snow than other areas of the highway,” officials said in announcing the opening.
“These storms severely impacted our district with an intense, rapid accumulation of snow and rain,” said Deputy District Director of Maintenance Terry Erlwein, “leading to avalanches, flooding, and rock and mudslides that affected roadways from Death Valley to the Nevada State Line on Highway 395. I want to thank every Caltrans crew member who contributed, whether they were driving a snowplow, managing an overnight closure point on the highway, or fielding information at our dispatch office. The collective effort of our entire maintenance team has made this reopening possible.”
For less than a half-dozen hours on Friday the 13th, traffic was being escorted on Highway 395 between Lee Vining and Bridgeport.
The last escort was conducted at 5 p.m. when strong winds and white-out conditions brought them to a halt, closing the highway south of Gardnerville for another night.
“Due to strong winds and whiteout conditions on the highway, Caltrans has extended its closure of U.S. 395 in Mono County,” the California Department of Transportation reported on Friday. “The highway is currently closed from the … June Lake Junction to the town of Bridgeport.”
With more stormy weather due to arrive today, chances are 395 will remain closed south of Gardnerville.
A winter storm warning is in effect until Tuesday morning along the highway through 10 a.m. Tuesday.
“Multiple storms will move through this weekend and early next week,” according to the National Weather Service in Reno. “The heaviest snowfall rates and broader impacts are expected today and Monday with a brief lull in intensity on Sunday. Travel will be hazardous, especially today and Monday.”
Snow accumulations of 6-16 inches could be seen along the 395 corridor south of Walker, with 3-5 feet above 8,000 feet.
Highway 6 in Bishop, which connects to Nevada Highway 95, is open as a detour for vehicles traveling to Bridgeport or further north. All of the Sierra passes south of Highway 88, including Ebbetts, Sonora and Tioga, are all closed for the season.
Friday marks the fifth night in a row the highway has been closed since Jan. 9 after another storm sent snow and debris into the highway.
At it’s worst on Monday, the highway was closed from 17 miles north of Bishop to Bridgeport. Flooding from that storm also closed Highway 6 from Bishop to Coaldale, Nev., eliminating a key detour for about three hours.
A 3.4 earthquake reported 7:06 p.m. Friday right near Morgan Mill Road in Walker, Calif., along Highway 395, by the Nevada Seismological Laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Eight people reported feeling the earthquake, mostly living very near the regions, with one report in Glenbrook and another in Watsonville, Calif.