Last weekend, Caltrans extended the hours Highway 74 was available to motorists, even with a pilot car escort between Valle Vista and Mountain Center.
However, the discouraging news is that Highway 74’s use may continue as currently permitted for at least two more months. And the opening of Highway 243 is currently unknown.
Caltrans has provided this summary of the repairs and work on highways 74 and 243. “Additional damage and erosion continue weekly to slopes, culverts and the pavement on both routes,” Friday’s press release said.
Work on Highway 74 may require at least another two months. The storm events in May have reduced the time available to repair the highway. And Caltrans emphasized that the two-month estimate is very much dependent on good weather in June and July.
Not only has the weather delayed work on Highway 243, but it has damaged and impaired some of the work that has already been done.
Repair of the washout at Bay Tree Spring has been washed out itself. This work will have to be redone. Also, the spring has begun flowing again over the work area and has to be rediverted. Finally, the heavy fog in recent weeks has slowed the transport of materials to the site.
Highway 243 remains closed to all traffic between Idyllwild and Banning.
Highway 74 will remain available for use from 4 to 8 a.m. and from 6 p.m. to midnight until further notice.