GRASS VALLEY (CBS13) – A large sinkhole has developed on Highway 49 south of Grass Valley, shutting down part of the roadway.

The sinkhole is about 10 feet by 10 feet and is near La Barr Meadows Road, according to the California Highway Patrol. The hole covers part of the roadway and extends into the hillside.

The recent heavy rains may have compromised a joint in the road construction, Caltrans said.

A Caltrans crew is on scene and traffic is being rerouted around the hole. It could take up to six weeks to complete repairs, a Caltrans spokesperson said.

The last storm dumped more than 8 inches of rain in parts of the foothills, causing mountain soil to bleed into a road near Foresthill.

Gark Kirk with Foresthill Fire is worried what a lot more rain could do.

“Of course land slides, and taking out any people living in the shirttail area, or blocking people from coming back into Foresthill,” said Kirk of his worries.

Kirk says the burn scars left from the robbers fire has made the area vulnerable to rain.

“The vegetation will hold that moisture in the root systems. With that gone, it’s just going to run down the hill side,” said Kirk.”

Drivers say their commute has gone from scenic to scary.

“It’s bad. There is a lot of water coming down the road too, branches and trees, and stuff. I wouldn’t advice going through there,” driver Edwin Lapierre said.

Caltrans says snow usually keeps them busy on Interstate 80, but back-to-back warm storms have them on rain patrol.

“(We are) watching our more notorious areas for mudslides. The Truckee River canyon is one of them and we watch for the rocks falling,” said Rochelle Jenkins, Caltrans.

Caltrans has also been making sure gutters don’t clog, so rivers of rain don’t turn into lakes on the interstate.


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