Highway 395 work near Sonora Junction begins today

A big culvert will allow wildlife to pass under Highway 395 near Sonora Junction.

A big culvert will allow wildlife to pass under Highway 395 near Sonora Junction.

Sonora Pass isn’t open for the season, yet, but construction begins today on Highway 395 for the Sonora Junction Shoulders Project between Burcham Flat Road and State Route 108 north of Bridgeport.

The project will widen the shoulders of the highway to 8 feet, install rail-element retaining walls, stabilize cut slopes with anchored wire mesh, and place two wildlife crossings under the highway, according to the California Department of Transportation.

Each “plate pipe” archway undercrossing will measure more than 70 feet in length and stand between 9.5 feet and 11 feet high. With 69 reported collisions since 2002, Caltrans biologists identified this stretch of Highway 395 as a crossing hotspot for the West Walker herd of mule deer. The addition of two oversized culverts and fencing to direct animals away from traffic aims to reduce wildlife mortality rates on this stretch of Highway 395. Other species native to the area that could use the underpass include sage grouse, badgers, wolverines, and red foxes.

Above the crossings, construction crews will widen the embankments and shoulders, and apply a new 6-inch layer of hot mix asphalt.

Other project details include:

• Installation of ground-in shoulder skip rumble strips.

• Replacing and extending existing drainage infrastructure.

• Upgrading existing metal beam guardrail.

• Adjusting existing cut-and-fill slopes.

“By widening the paved shoulders and constructing wildlife crossings on this stretch of U.S. 395 in Mono County, Caltrans is continuing its commitment to safety and improving habitat connectivity,” said Caltrans District 9 Director Ryan Dermody.

The $16.8 million Sonora Junction Shoulders Project was funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 – also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Under IIJA, California will receive an estimated $41.9 billion over five years. IIJA provides significant funding to rebuild California’s transportation system, including support to improve roadways, bridges, freight projects, public transportation, infrastructure safety enhancements, and to increase infrastructure resiliency to the impacts of severe weather and climate change. For more information about IIJA, visit http://rebuildingca.ca.gov/iija-by-the-numbers.

Expected to require approximately 160 working days to complete, the project is scheduled to occur Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will be one-way traffic control and drivers may experience 20-minute delays. Work is anticipated to conclude in fall 2025 after a winter suspension.

Travelers are advised that there will be two full closures of U.S 395 through the project area scheduled for late summer. Additional information about these closures and associated detours will be released once details have been finalized.

Work schedules are subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment or materials, or any construction-related issues.


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