The Cranston Fire burned up to and across both highways 74 and 243.
Currently, Highway 74 from Idyllwild to Mountain Center is closed to through traffic. The only access to Idyllwild is Highway 243 from Banning.
The damage to Highway 74 is more extensive. According to Terri Kasinga, chief of Public and Media Affairs for Caltrans District 8, Highway 74 west to Hemet will remained closed, at least until the weekend, and maybe longer, depending upon the damage assessment.
On Tuesday, Lake Hemet residents were allowed to return home through Garner Valley, via Palm Desert or Highway 371 through Anza. The blockade that was at Morris Ranch Road on Highway 74 was moved to Lake Hemet.
“Caltrans began work this weekend with a Director’s Order (Emergency Contract) with Ames Construction, who began making repairs to burnt guardrail, signs, delineation, slopes and culverts,” she wrote in a press release. “The contractor is working 24/7 to complete the work. The cost of the Director’s Order is currently $5 million. The cost is expected to increase due to the extent of the damages.
“Once the routes reopen, the repairs will continue with Ames Construction crews providing traffic control (flagging or pilot car) for approximately two months,” Kasinga advised.