Nearly a week after California State Route 74 (Ortega Highway) was closed due to road damage, officials said Tuesday they hope to have the roadway restored in about three weeks.
A dip was discovered near post mile 5.5 of Ortega Highway Wednesday morning of last week, after a series of powerful storms pummeled the region over the weekend. Soon after, crews from the California Department of Transportation noticed the pavement was cracking.
Caltrans said recent storms created a 2-foot void under the road where "soil and roadway material had been washed away," which caused the "depression" in the roadway," Caltrans said in a statement. Additionally, the cracking in the roadway indicated there were "deeper tension issues."
It has since been determined that soil and roadway materials up to 30 feet under the pavement "have become unstable and are not strong enough to support the road," according to Caltrans.
"Caltrans will immediately excavate the damaged soil and materials, then initiate a grouting operation to fill in voids and strengthen the remaining soil and materials, and then rebuild the roadway," Caltrans said in the statement.
Weather permitting, it is estimated the road can be repaired in about three weeks from Tuesday.
"The restoration operation will run 24/7 until the roadway is fully repaired and reopened to traffic," Caltrans said in a statement.
News from across California
The road is an important commuting route between Orange and Riverside counties.
The closure for drivers heading eastbound is located near Cristianitos and Gibby roads in San Juan Capistrano east of Antonio Parkway/ La Pata Avenue. The other closure for those driving westbound from the Lake Elsinore area is located at Nichols Institute Road in San Juan Capistrano.