Caltrans maintenance crews have begun spring cleaning of mountain passes that includes blowing up 300-ton boulders prior to travel by California motorists.
The spring cleaning of timber, snow and boulders on Highway 108 over Sonora Pass and Highway 89 over Monitor Pass is going on in earnest. Crews will also inspect the roadway for winter wear and make pavement improvements for safety.
Caltrans hopes to open Sonora Pass to Kennedy Meadows Road in time for the trout season opener on April 29. Caltrans is scheduled to begin clearing Ebbets Pass later this month.
Working at 8,000-feet elevation, the crews shove snow off the road, cut back brush and use a lot of explosives to blow up big rocks that have fallen from hillsides during the long, hard winter.
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The boulders can weight from 100-to-300 tons. Once the boulders are exploded into smaller pieces they are removed from the highway.