By Rachel Wulff


UPDATE: The Placer County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday morning that the ice dam has been cleared and access to Serene Lakes has been restored.

Excavators continue to work on the creek, but authorities say the work is not expected to affect the road.

Previous story below:

SODA SPRINGS (CBS13) — It’s a sign of spring in there Sierra — crews are working to clear two ice dams in Soda Springs that caused flooding over a bridge.

It’s impacting a couple hundred people who live in the area. Norm Sayler is what you might call an expert on Spring runoff in the Sierra. He ran Donner Ski Ranch for decades.

“In my 65 years here on Donner summit, this is the seventh or eighth time I have seen this happen,” Sayler said.

Sayler stopped by the bridge on Soda Springs Road to see the bridge flooded after two ice dams downstream in the south Yuba River caused a backup of ice and water.

“What happens is there is a little snow on the river and water comes up and gets on top of that and it works like an ice machine,” said Sayler.

“A couple years ago we had the same thing happen and it took a couple days to clear,” Placer County Sheriff’s Department Sergeant Ty Conners said.

READ ALSO: 4 Mountain Climbers Rescued From Sierra Nevada Peak

That bridge is the only access to the Serene Lakes subdivision where 700 homes are located. Officials said it’s not clear how many people are there now.

“It’s hard to tell because so many homes are covered with snow,” said Peter Haug, who is vacationing at his home there.

Haug had to speak with CBS13 via cell phone from across the river.

“It’s always something different,” said Haug.

A couple of firefighters and sheriff’s deputies were stationed on that side in case of emergency. By Wednesday afternoon crews had brought in heavy equipment to clear the backup. Sayler says in the old days they used to clear it a different way.

“We would throw a stick of dynamite in there and it would all go away. Now you can’t do that. So many agencies involved now. I call it crazy spending,” said Sayler.

Authorities hope to have the ice buildup cleared by Thursday.

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