Valley News -

Partial closure of Ortega Highway near Lake Elsinore to continue into weekend


Last updated 4/11/2019 at 5:34pm

LAKE ELSINORE - Repair work on the Ortega (74) Highway just west of Lake Elsinore where a rock slide damaged the corridor got underway today, but the highway will remain partially closed going into the weekend, meaning ongoing traffic disruptions, according to Caltrans.

Watsonville-based Granite Construction Inc. was hired by the agency to reconfigure the segment where the slide occurred just below Lookout Point, roughly five miles west of the Lake Elsinore city limits.

The cost of the contract was not immediately available.

Caltrans spokesman Shane Massoud said the contractor this morning started removing roadway debris and shoring up the slope where the soil gave way. Over the next three days, Granite crews will be widening the highway shoulders to add space to the car lanes, restoring unfettered east- and westbound travel, according to Massoud.

In the meantime, motorists will be subject to one-way traffic flagging in both directions to get around the road work. East- and westbound drivers are being escorted at intervals, meaning long queues on the 30-mile artery, which connects Lake Elsinore and San Juan Capistrano, officials said.

After the slide happened about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, the California Highway Patrol closed the westbound lane because of a boulder and other debris in the roadway.

According to Caltrans spokeswoman Terri Kasinga, a drainage ditch about 150 feet up a hillside was compromised, most likely during the February storms, and since that time, water has been seeping down the slope, loosening sediment and rocks, which finally fell onto the highway.

No one was injured.


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