Highway 74 temporarily closed Monday

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At right, a Caltrans geologist observes the side of the hill crumbling near Highway 74.  Photo by Jay Pentrack

At right, a Caltrans geologist observes the side of the hill crumbling near Highway 74.
Photo by Jay Pentrack

Highway 74 was temporarily closed in both directions Monday morning, April 7. A landslide was detected in the area where Caltrans has been working for the past several weeks just east of the Cranston Forest Service Station near Valle Vista.

As of Monday afternoon, no further closures of the highway were planned, said Chief Terri Kasinga, Caltrans District 8 Public and Legislative Affairs. The abutments constructed in recent weeks at the site “held up most of the slide,” she said.

Caltrans was able to clean the portion of the slide on the roadway and reopen it to traffic. Emergency work will continue and a Caltrans geologist will assess the slope, Kasinga reported.

Traffic was disrupted for several hours Monday morning, with many people stopped and turned around finding a different route to Hemet or to Idyllwild. Idyllwild School Principal Matt Kraemer was the first Idyllwild-bound Hemet driver stopped and had to detour through Bautista to get to school.

Only one Hemet Unified School District bus was affected, according to Mike Fogerty, director of transportation. “The special-needs bus got down the Hill then had to turn around and go through to Anza,” he said. “The driver did stop at the Anza school to give the kids a rest. We were lucky it was only one bus.”

“The slope was damaged during the Cottonwood Fire last year,” said Kasinga.

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