LAS VEGAS- Residents and employees in Death Valley are being permitted to drive via Daylight Pass Road and Beatty Cutoff while the recovery from the disastrous floods proceeds. That’s one of the few bits of good news coming out of Death Valley National Park after further flooding on Tuesday.
The west entrance to Death Valley is blocked owing to substantial damage to California Highway 190 (CA-190) within the park. According to a National Park Service press release, Caltrans has not yet provided an expected date for reopening. CA-190 from Stovepipe Wells Village to California Highway 136 is blocked, and the park service said that around 400 feet of pavement between Panamint Valley Road and Towne Pass was washed away in the flood.
“There aren’t any more storms in the forecast,” said Superintendent Mike Reynolds.
Badwater Road has debris up to 3 feet deep in places, and shoulders have eroded away, leaving dangerous drop-offs. The park expects to open the route from CA-190 to Badwater Basin on September 24.
“It sounds like western part of CA-190 has water flowing over it as I type this, and Furnace Creek is under a flash flood warning until 6:30 p.m. today (Tuesday),” according to a transmission from NPS public information officer Abby Wines.
According to the park service, “The park plans to use this natural reset to designate campsites when the road is re-established,” Permits will be necessary as new campsites are built, but there will be no camping infrastructure until more construction is completed.
Permits will be available for a small price through Recreation.gov (not available online yet).
The majority of the park’s paved roads are closed. The sole accessible route is from the east, through Death Valley Junction and CA-190. Visitors can only drive to Dantes View, Zabriskie Point, The Oasis in Death Valley, Furnace Creek Visitor Center and Campground, Harmony Borax Works, Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, and Stovepipe Wells.
According to a “situation update” supplied by Death Valley National Park, “Contractors are now monitoring access through Daylight Pass and Beatty Cutoff. They are instructed to allow access for Death Valley residents and employees.”
Previous estimates that the road between Beatty and Death Valley could be partially repaired by mid-October may be jeopardized by the latest damage revealed this week. Crews scheduled to begin work on Badwater Road on September 23 may be diverted. This could push the reopening of Beatty until mid-November.
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