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Northbound 101 set to re-open in Chualar, but CHP says there’s a catch

CHUALAR, Calif. (KION)

UPDATE 12/5/2019 7:45 a.m. Northbound 101 is now open in Chaular and Caltrans is finished cleaning up the mud, according to CHP.

UPDATE 12/5/2019 12:05 a.m. Northbound 101 is set to re-open in Chualar but the California Highway Patrol says it will be a long gradual clean-up process before commuters can go the normal speed limit.

CHP says they will be using officers to escort travelers in waves while crews plow mud off the 101 from Gonzales to Salinas.

Crews will have to do this using plow trucks traveling at a rate of about 10 mph.

That process of escorting travelers in small waves will continue over and over until CHP and Caltrans deem the roads safe enough for normal speeds.

In the meantime, CHP says commuters on Hartnell Road, Spence Road, Esperanza Road, Potter Road and Chualar Road will not be allowed to cross Highway 101 as these clean-ups go on overnight.

CHP says it could take hours before the 101 is finally clear for travel. Part of it has to do with the speed the plow trucks will be moving in and also the amount of cars that have been waiting to continue their trip on the highway.

UPDATE 12/4/2019 7:09 p.m. South bound Highway 101 is now re-opened in Chualar, according to the Monterey County Sheriff's Office.

The area was closed for a few hours due to flooding.

UPDATE 12/4/2019 3:40 p.m. Several roads are being closed as crews respond to flooding from rain and a failed levee in Chualar. There are no evacuations at this time, according to the Monterey County Sheriff's Office.

Deputy Fire Marshal Dorothy Priolo with the Monterey County Regional Fire District tells KION that fire crews first responded to reports of flooding on roadways and cars stuck, but after receiving reports of flooding in homes, crews found that the levee behind Chualar Union School failed.

The resulting flooding from the levee water and rain water led to the closure of southbound Highway 101 between Esperanza and Chualar roads. Northbound lanes are also closed. Priolo said Grant Street is also flooded and there are closures on roads in Chualar including Potter, Spence and Esperanza Roads. Old Stage Road is closed from Chualar Canyon to Alisal. Crews are in the area looking for anybody who may be stranded, but do not believe anyone is left unrescued. The Monterey County Sheriff's Office is assisting.

The CHP said 20 vehicles are stuck in about two feet of water near Alisal and Fuji.

Around the time the levee breach was found, Chualar Union School was starting to let out. The school is keeping students in the gym until their families get there.

Monterey County Regional Fire does not know how many homes are involved, but one had at least a foot of flooding. Public Works is bringing sand to the area and sand bags will be available at the fire station.

Crews may be going to assess the levee to see if it is on private or public property.

There is also flooding reported in Gonzales. Caltrans said River Road from Spreckles to and from Gonzales is the best detour, but there may be long delays.

PREVIOUS STORY: Southbound Highway 101 north of Chualar is closed for flooding ear Esperanza and Chualar Roads.

The CHP said there is flooding in both directions, but right now only southbound lanes are closed. The CHP said the water southbound is two feet deep.

The Greenfield Fire Department said a levee has failed near Chualar. There is significant flooding in the town. The CHP said it was called in to assist with traffic control.

A viewer also reported to KION that there is flooding at a school and nearby homes. The National Weather Service said the levee is near Chualar Union School.

The Monterey County Office of Emergency Services reminds drivers not to underestimate flooding. Six inches of fast-moving water can knock over an adult, a foot of water can carry away a small car and two feet of fast-moving water can carry away large SUV's, vans and trucks.

This is a developing story. We have a crew on the way to the area.

KION Breaking News / Monterey County / Top Stories

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson is the Digital Content Director at KION News Channel 5/46.

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