Crews to close Ortega Highway for rock removal

File photo

LAKE ELSINORE (CNS) – The Ortega Highway between Lake Elsinore and San Juan Capistrano will be completely shut down for a brief period a week from today to enable crews to safely remove several boulders that might otherwise roll onto the two-lane corridor.

According to Caltrans District 8, the “slope stabilization” operation is slated for 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 3, close to the Lake Elsinore side of the 30-mile route.

Caltrans spokesman Shane Massoud said the removals should take roughly an hour. The midday time frame was chosen to prevent disruptions to the morning and evening commutes, according to Massoud.

He said the stabilization work may continue through most of December, but crews will be working behind guardrails the majority of the time, so the west- and eastbound sides of the Ortega will remain open, and traffic should not be hampered.

The highway courses through rugged, undulating terrain in the Cleveland National Forest, and during storms, rock and mud slides, as well as debris flows, are not uncommon, prompting partial and full closures of the east-west artery.

A rock slide last winter damaged the corridor.

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