SR-243 to Be Closed for Months Due to Storm Damage; Other I.E. Mountain Road Closures to Last Weeks

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Damage from last week’s torrential downpours in Southern California will leave numerous roads in the region closed for weeks — and one even for months, Caltrans announced Tuesday.

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.)

The most significant damage was to a crumbling stretch of State Route 243, a portion of which eroded and buckled near Lake Fulmor amid last Thursday’s heavy rain, leaving a giant chasm in the roadway.

Because of “extensive damage and road loss,” the 243 will be closed from the 10 Freeway in Banning to Idyllwild for at least two months, according to a Caltrans news release.

Another road in the San Jacinto Mountains that will be closed for at least a month is State Route 74, which also sustained significant damage from the storm.

The closure is in place from Valle Vista at Borco to Mountain Center.

A stretch of the 74 from Lake Hemet to Mountain Center and Idyllwild, however, will stay open to residents and businesses only, the Caltrans release stated.

The 243 and the 74 are the main routes leading to and from the communities in the San Jacinto Mountains, including Idyllwild, Mountain Center and Pine Cove.

More than $8 million has been allocated to fix both roads, according to Caltrans.

Southbound State Route 111 will also be closed for at least one month, thought the road itself remains partially open, as motorists will be able to travel in both directions on northbound lanes.

Elsewhere, in the San Bernardino Mountains, State Route 18 will be completely shut down from Green Valley Lake Road to Big Bear Dam for an additional two weeks so repairs can be made to the storm-damaged road. The project will cost an estimated $2.5 million, Caltrans officials said.

A stretch of State Route 173 from State Route 138 to Twin Ranch Road also remains closed for an undetermined amount of time because of flooding.

And “extreme snow conditions” have prompted the indefinite closure of State Route 2 from Grassy Hollow to Islip Saddle, meaning the road can’t be accessed from Los Angeles County, according to the release.

Caltrans also warned drivers traveling through Southern California mountain areas on Wednesday afternoon through Thursday to bring chains, as snow levels are expected to drop to 1,500 feet.




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