Highway 89 open with one lane to Markleeville

Kurt Hildebrand / Record Courier
A single lane of Highway 89 was open on Friday morning near Markleeville.
Kurt Hildebrand/Record Courier

The main route between Markleeville and the rest of the world opened to one-way traffic at around 8:45 p.m. Thursday, according to CalTrans at the last briefing on the flooding. 

However, transportation officials may be hedging the road’s full opening after they reported finding some undermining on the southbound lane. 

Senior Transportation Engineer Caroline Reyes said workers will focus on the area south of the washout next. 

“We found some undermined pockets on the southbound lanes need to be addressed over the next couple of days,” she said. “How extensive that erosion will be identified and we’ll be mobilizing to do some back fill and repaving that road to ensure it’s a solid base. The work will go on through weekend, and then we’ll see early next week how much effort is needed to open the road to two way traffic.”

The original estimate was to fully reopen the road on Monday.

Workers from the California Department of Transportation backfilled a new 8-foot culvert across Highway 89 on Wednesday in an effort to reopen the highway on time.

Washed out on Aug. 3 after a thunderstorm dropped roughly 2 inches of rain an hour on the Tamarack Fire Burn, the new culvert is twice as wide as the one that failed.

The flood occurred as plans to replace the old 4-foot culvert with an even larger concrete box structure. Installing the larger structure was estimated to take 5-6 weeks, delaying the opening of the highway into mid-September.

The flood also sent mud and debris into the town of Markleeville, which has been cleaning up.

Reopening of the highway and status of work in town will be the subject of an 11 a.m. briefing today.

The county has been escorting residents around the washout since Friday and will continue to do so until the road opens.

In response to the Highway 89 closure, Alpine County approved $65,000 for economic recovery for businesses, workforce and residents who experienced an economic hardship as a result of the debris flows and road closures.

“If you are a resident and operate a business in the road closure area, and both were impacted by the incident, you can fill out a resident/workforce application and a business application,” officials said.

Applications are due by 5 p.m. Aug. 26. Applications received after the deadline may not receive funding.

Resident & Workforce Application:

Business Application:

Businesses must also fill out an Economic Injury Disaster Worksheet to qualify for funding.

There are also other fundraisers underway, including a Go Fund Me conducted by the Alpine County Chamber of Commerce to raise funds for business recovery in Alpine County. Visit

CalTrans also has a damage claim process with forms available at Alpine County’s web site at

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