The hours for access of Highway 74 between Mountain Center and Hemet have been extended for the Memorial Day weekend.

On Friday, May 10, Terri Kasinga, chief, Public and Media Affairs, Caltrans District 8, announced that the highway will be open, with the use of escort vehicles, from 6 a.m. through midnight Saturday, Sunday and Monday, May 25 through 27.

On Tuesday, May 28, access will return to the current usage hours of 4 to 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. to midnight each day.

Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol will continue to enforce the following restrictions: 

• The speed limit is 25 miles per hour during the escort.

• Motorists will not be permitted to stop or pull over during the escort.

• Motorists will not be permitted to pass other vehicles during the escort.

• The construction zone on Highway 74 between Mountain Center and Hemet will be a “Double Fine Zone.”

• Sections of Highway 74 will have uneven, unpaved roadbed with narrow passage. Be advised that dirt, sand, rock and mud exist on Highway 74. Low-profile vehicles are not recommended.

• No drone, video or photos will be permitted while using the escorts.

• Motorists must follow all commands given by the pilot workers, contractor employees, flaggers, Caltrans crews and the California Highway Patrol.

• Escorts can be canceled at any time due to safety concerns for the traveling public, such as slope issues, rock fall, roadbed concerns and motorists not following traffic laws or escort provisions.

In other news about Highway 74, Caltrans has announced a public meeting Thursday, June 6. The subject will be the issue of a raised curb median in Hemet. Caltrans is proposing to create a raised median on Florida Avenue (Highway 74) from the Ramona Expressway to Cawston Avenue.

Many Hemet businesses and residents oppose the idea because it will eliminate left turns in the middle of the blocks.

Highway 243 remains closed from Lake Fulmor north. There is no news on expected dates for reopening. The repair of the road at Bay Tree Spring is continuing, but will require much more time for completion.

The meeting will be from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, June 6, at the James Simpson Community Center in Hemet.