Yosemite National Park officials have announced that a significant section of Highway 120 into the park will be closed due to a large crack in the roadway, until as late as July. The Big Oak Flat Road, one of the major roads in Yosemite, will be closed from just inside the park boundary to Merced Grove. The Federal Highway Administration and park officials will start repair work this month, with efforts expected to finish by mid-June. However, the repairs may extend into July.
Visitors entering the park from the west along Highway 120 can still access Hodgdon Meadow and Hetch Hetchy, but most areas, including Yosemite Valley, will be inaccessible. Despite this, visitors from Yosemite Valley can still access the Tuolumne and Merced groves of giant sequoias using the Big Oak Flat Road.
Big Oak Flat Road (continuation of Hwy 120 west into Yosemite) is closed from just inside the park boundary to Merced Grove. The road will be closed at least until mid-June and possibly into July. We are working with the Federal Highway Administration to start repairs ASAP. 1/4— Yosemite National Park (@YosemiteNPS) May 4, 2023
Officials say the crack in the road is approximately 200 feet long and four feet deep, causing the road surface to move up to three inches both vertically and horizontally. The embankment below the road has also moved approximately 15 feet downslope. The road is deemed unsafe for any limited traffic to pass through.
According to data from the National Park Service, more than 373,000 vehicles entered Yosemite through Big Oak Flat Road last year, and this figure was higher before the pandemic. In 2019, as many as 508,295 vehicles entered the park via Big Oak Flat Road.
Furthermore, Tioga and Glacier Point roads, which are closed during winter months, will also open later than normal this summer, according to park officials. The closure of Tioga Road will make it impossible to drive to Tuolumne Meadows or enter the park from the east.