Sinkhole closes southbound lanes on Highway 41 in Oakhurst

Repairs on a sinkhole on Highway 41 in Oakhurst that is blocking about three feet of the southbound lane are expected to be completed by Friday afternoon, Caltrans reported Thursday.

The problem on Highway 41 at Hodges Hill Drive was reported to the California Highway Patrol about 1:30 p.m. Thursday. The southbound lane has been closed, although traffic continues to move in both directions using the northbound and center passing lanes, the CHP said.

The sinkhole is 8 feet wide by 6 feet deep and takes up most of the southbound lanes, Caltrans spokesman Cory Burkarth said. The cause of the hole has not been identified, but could be the result of the winter’s rains widening something as small as a gopher hole beneath the road, he said. Worker checked a culvert beneath the road, but it is intact, Burkarth said.

A steel plate was being placed over the hole Thursday evening, and crews from the Caltrans Coarsegold maintenance yard will be back at the scene early Friday morning to fill the hole with base rock and top it with slurry. Once that dries, the lanes will reopen to traffic, Burkarth said.

“We expect our work to finish sometime tomorrow afternoon, and to be out of the way for rush hour traffic,” he said.

Krysta Scripter: 559-441-6248, @krysta_scripter