News » Sierra Way open to the public


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Photo by Clayton Huckaby
Photo of Sierra Way taken on Sunday, May 14. There is still some water in the roadway but most of it is cleared up.

Last week, the Kern Valley Sun newspaper was informed that Sierra Way would be opened "indefinitely" because of water that had run over the roadway. Although "indefinite" usually means that it could be a while before the road was closed, it appears that Kern County Public Works Road's Department was able to divert the water to prevent an overabundance of flooding on the roadway.

In last week's article, it was said that the county roads department would be attempting, this month, to divert water to the culverts. That came sooner than expected when the roadway opened this last weekend. After a bit of digging, the Kern Valley Sun was able to find out that First District Supervisor Mick Gleason helped to accelerate timetable.

Gleason explained that he spoke with Craig Pope, Director of Public Works, to find out if there is anything that could be done to get the roadway opened. Knowing that Sierra Way is important to the community, for both business and emergency services, it was decided that there was an urgent need to get it workable. Gleason was apt to explain, however, that the fix is not permanent but is workable for the foreseeable future.
"It's not a permanent fix," said Gleason. "A permanent fix would be getting a causeway in there, but I do not know if that is possible right now."

Gleason explained that Pope enlisted the help of Bruce Hafenfeld to get the road opened. Both Pope and Hafenfeld began working on Friday, May 12, and Saturday, May 13, and by Saturday afternoon, the roadway was open.
Going through the area, it is apparent that Gleason is correct in saying that this is only a temporary fix. Dirt and branches are piled up on the side of the roadway preventing water from washing over the road. The water is also being diverted down to culverts but those are almost completely filled with water.

Further down, at the bridge, water is nearly at the top of the bridge and is flowing into the forested area on the western side of the road. The water is still running through the area, but the temporary fix has allowed the county to open the road to the public.

While the road is open, it is important to remember to be safe when passing through the area. There is still a lot of running water and some of it is still standing on the roadway.
The Kern Valley Sun will keep the public updated on the status of the roadway.