Brief Update on the Closure of Mt. Aukum Road

by Placerville Newswire / Feb 09, 2017 / comments

[PRpond] John Kahling, Deputy Director of the El Dorado County Engineering Unit
Ok, here is a brief update on the closure of Mt. Aukum Road. Over the weekend, a dip formed in the n/b lane.

We had drillers come out Tuesday to determine whether or not a sinkhole under the n/b pavement was causing the dip. Between 7:00 am and 8:45 am, a large sinkhole opened up in the n/b shoulder that extended under half of the n/b lane. A little bit later Tuesday morning, our engineering geologist found a sinkhole partially hidden under brush on the embankment downhill from the s/b lane. This sinkhole extended horizontally under the embankment maybe 25-35 feet, such that it was under the s/b lane. After I saw this sinkhole, the road was closed.

We finished the drilling Tuesday so that we could understand the type of underground material we'd be working with when we replace the damaged culvert that is responsible for the 5 sinkholes that are present. Surveyors were on site today collecting topographic data that we will use for our design. It will take time for us to put together a package that we can put out to bid. We will do whatever we can do expedite the design/bid/construction process, but the County does not have the ability to fund all of the repair work across the county. Therefore, as we move through the design/bid/construction process, we need to follow California state law and FEMA rules to ensure that we can recover the repair cost from the State and the Feds. As of right now, I estimate that the closure may remain in place for several months, but we will be working hard to minimize the closure duration.

We don't yet know how the culvert was damaged. It was installed close to 1960, so it's at the end of its expected life.


Samantha Hunt: How is this going to effect Happy Valley Rd with all the added traffic? Especially the wooden bridge.

Dave Pratt: This why the detour is Bucks Bar Rd. There is a reason

John Kahling: Mr. Pratt is right...the County's detour is Bucks Bar to Pleasant Valley for a reason. But traffic will increase on Happy Valley. This closure will impact all of South County. The residents of Happy Valley will be impacted by increased traffic on parts of the County roads in their neighborhoods. Those of us who don't live there should plan ahead to minimize trips through Happy Valley, and when we're on Happy Valley, we should drive carefully, like we would want outsiders to drive through our neighborhoods.


Sheri Moody McNew: Holy Smokes you guys! I count on Ace Hardware and Holiday, Chinese and Pizza!!! Let us all on this side try our best not to let the closure keep us from doing business there. This could be devastating for them!!

John Kahling: THIS is important. We need to work to plan trips to these PV businesses. They need our support. They are there for us, now we need to be there and help them out, even if it costs us and extra 30 minutes (both ways) to take the detour.


Shelby Gordon: Thanks for the information. Not sure why money isn't there for state of emergency. With Newtown down to one lane mud slides on Cedar Ravine if Bucks Bar goes then what? Closing it to fix it is quite different than closing it waiting for money and a bid
John Kahling: We will be not waiting for money. The County will front the money and apply for reimbursement from the State and the Feds. We will minimize the bid period.


Mary Simpson: Thanks, John! Great update. Not great news, but great update.


John Kahling, deputy director of the county Engineering Unit.