On Tuesday morning, Jan. 12, Highway 243 remained closed between Idyllwild and Pine Cove, and Caltrans had no estimate of when the highway would re-open to traffic. A boulder fell onto the highway late Sunday night at Deadman’s Curve, which resulted in the road’s closure.
To remove the boulder, Caltrans rented specially fabricated equipment (a 50,000-pound excavator equipped with a hydraulic breaker), which arrived on scene late Monday night. Caltrans maintenance crews began work early Tuesday morning to break apart the boulder and remove it from the highway.
On Monday, Caltrans geotechnical engineers investigated the slope at the location where the boulder fell onto the highway and determined that once the boulder was removed it would be safe to reopen the route to the public, according to Terri Kasinga, chief of Public and Media Affairs for Caltrans’ District 8.
The boulder dented the road surface and broke into two pieces. The larger one had to be broken into smaller pieces to be removed.
As a consequence of the road closure, on Monday and Tuesday, Hemet Unified School District sent a bus through Banning for Pine Cove students. Five children rode it Monday.