Highway 18 Repairs Underway, Caltrans Planning for Early February Reopening
Repairs are underway for a section of Highway 18 that washed away during a Christmas Eve rainstorm.
Hanging on with only feet of space is an excavator scooping up dirt and sliding it down the 50-foot hillside. Just west of Crestline, this section of Highway 18 was washed away after a drainage inlet became clogged.
Emily Leinen is a Caltrans Public Information Officer Emily Leinen. She says, "What happened from there was the water had nowhere to go, and it went across the roadway, down the other side of the mountain, and washed away the downbound lanes for (Highway 18)."
Caltrans is expecting the repairs to cost over $4.1 Million. Leinen compared the hillside reconstruction to that of layering cake. "We're going to pack in the material and test it (to make sure) that it's good and sound. Then we're going to put a geogrid netting on top of that to help secure it and keep it in place. And then, we will continue to the next layer. Soil, geogrid, soil, geogrid, all the way back up to the top."
Highway 18 is shut down both ways, starting at the south section of Old Waterman Canyon Road. Lienen says they are restricting traffic to expedite the repairs, which they expect to complete by the first week of February.
"We definitely are on target for that first week of February. We will continue evaluations to see if there's something that we can do for the area, to see if we can help pilot people through. Right now, we just want to make sure that the slope is stable and sound. We're still doing a lot of testing for that, so that's kind of why we want to keep people away, and the route is only currently open to emergency responders," added Lienen.
Until repairs are finished, Highways 138 and 330 will continue to be your best options if you're headed up to the Crestline/Lake Arrowhead area.