215 Freeway Reopened After Sinkhole Closure

MURRIETA, Calif. -- A two-mile stretch of the southbound Escondido (215) Freeway was reopened Monday morning, five days after a sinkhole forced the closure of the entire freeway and a busy interchange in the Murrieta area, inconveniencing scores of motorists.

The southbound lanes of the Escondido Freeway, which was entirely closed to traffic last Wednesday from Los Alamos Road to the Temecula Valley (15) Freeway/I-215 split, were reopened around 8 a.m., said California Highway Patrol Officer Ron Thatcher.

The northbound lanes of the I-215 remain closed Monday for repairs, with reopening expected on Tuesday, Thatcher said. He said the official reopening date and time will be determined at a Caltrans meeting scheduled for Monday afternoon.

The sinkhole, about 6 feet deep and 25 feet across, was reported at 4:10 p.m. last Wednesday on the southbound I-215, Thatcher said.

According to Caltrans, the sinkhole began developing in the freeway's center divider area when a pipe burst during the recent rains, forcing Caltrans to close the freeway at the I-15 split.

Crews had to dig a wide trench to get to the old water pipe that had corroded over the years.

Motorists heading north on Interstate 15 must exit at Murrieta Hot Springs Road, make a right on Hancock Avenue, then a left on Los Alamos Road, and another right to enter northbound Interstate 215, according to the CHP.

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