The south end of the Highway 243 culvert repair project. No traffic can go beyond this point, just north of Lake Fulmor.

Beginning today, Friday, Dec. 7 at 9 a.m., Highway 243 was closed in both directions near Lake Fulmor through Friday, Dec. 14, Cal Trans announced Thursday.

The closure location is just northwest of Lake Fulmor, and work will continue 24/7 until it's completed.

The work on Highway 243 is to be done "24/7" the lights for the night work have arrived.

Cal Trans stressed in its press release, “Traffic will not be allowed to cross. Please be advised that traffic will be turned around, so plan to use an alternate route.”

By 2 p.m., the surface of Hwy. 243 had gone from asphalt to dirt, which is why traffic can not pass in either direction until project is completed.

Cal Trans has coordinated the closure with the Riverside County Sheriff’s and Emergency Management departments as well as the Idyllwild Fire Department.

While the rainstorm, which began Wednesday, continued through Thursday, the weather forecast for the week ahead expects sunny and slightly warmer weather.

Alex Tardy, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s San Diego Office, wrote, “I don’t have a lot of confidence in the storm on December 11 or 12th but there’s potential for a couple of weather systems between the 14th and 21st.”

While a major storm next week is unlikely, Hill residents have been conditioned to be aware of looming inclement weather. Since August, Hill residents have been advised to prepare for evacuations and the closing of Highway 74 in case of severe precipitation.

The emergency first responders are aware of the Hwy. 243 closing and have discussed possible alternative plans in case a surprise weather system were to develop while Cal Trans is working on Highway 243, according to Brooke Frederico, EMD senior public information specialist.

As of Thursday, all the emergency officials felt this was good time for the Highway 243 repairs.

A major culvert north of Lake Fulmor has outlived its useful life and this project will replace it. While it still functions, its capacity is limited, according to Shane Massoud, Caltrans public information officer.

The work to repair the failing culvert began in earnst today, Dec. 7, the first day of the week project.

The reduced capacity could result in more water passing over or flooding the highway. “A possible bigger storm could cause the culvert to fail. This will be a 24-hour operation. The contractor will have two fully staffed crews working 12-hour shifts to replace it as quickly as possible,” said Massoud. A sink hole is a possible worse case if the repair was not addressed.