Route to Idyllwild Reopens After 8-Month Closure Due to Storm Damage

A major storm left a gaping hole in State Route 243 near Lake Fulmor on Feb. 14, 2019. (Credit: County of Riverside Emergency Management Dept.)

A major storm left a gaping hole in State Route 243 near Lake Fulmor on Feb. 14, 2019. (Credit: County of Riverside Emergency Management Dept.)

When heavy rainfall pounded the San Jacinto Mountains back in February, water and debris flooded the scenic mountain highway that leads to Idyllwild.

A section of a mountain slope buckled near Lake Fulmor during the storm, leaving behind a gaping hole in the roadway that serves as the main route in and out of the Idyllwild, Mountain Center and Pine Cove mountain communities.

After more than eight months of emergency repairs, State Route 243 is expected to reopen Friday by 6 p.m., Caltrans announced Wednesday.

The closure between the 10 Freeway and Idyllwild had left residents “Cut Off from Civilization,” one local, Rick Flanders, told KTLA in an email at the time.

Idyllwild is a popular retreat for visitors who usually take State Route 243 to get to the community. Alternative routes to Idyllwild are longer, with lots of twists.

Local business owners told the Press-Enterprise that they’ve lost sales because of closure, and that many were operating on reduced hours.

More than $8 million was allocated to fix both SR-243 and the 74 Freeway, which was also damaged during the same storm, Caltrans said.

Unseasonably heavy rainfall in May worsened road conditions as crews were still working, and postponed the reopening of SR-243.

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