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Ortega Highway to be closed in alternating directions through Tuesday

March 21, 2011 | 11:12 am

Caltrans senior equipment operator Troy Hampson keeps an eye on a "slipout" of earth on the side of the Ortega Highway, 14 miles east of Interstate-5.

This post has been corrected. Please see the note at the bottom for details.

Ortega Highway will be closed in alternating directions for at least the next day as Caltrans crews work to shore up a roadbed undermined by erosion during heavy rainfall.

The highway, also known as California Highway 74, was opened in one direction Monday morning for westbound commuters. Motorists were diverted around the damage, California Highway Patrol Officer Denise Quesada said.

The highway was closed to westbound traffic about 10 a.m. Monday and only eastbound motorists were allowed, she said.

Tuesday around 6 a.m., the highway will again revert to westbound-traffic to accommodate commuters. The pattern will continue as crews attempt to bolster the slope failure near Nichols Road, Quesada said.

With more rain forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday, chances are good that sections of the roadway will remain closed, she said.

Riverside County commuters use the twisting, two-lane highway to get to jobs in Orange County.

For the record, 12:05 p.m., March 21: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that mud had flowed onto the road.

ALSO:

First day of spring brings record rainfall

Motorists diverted off 5 Freeway seek shelter until morning

Roads closed amid flooding, snow, mudflows from heavy rains

-- Catherine Saillant

Photo: Caltrans senior equipment operator Troy Hampson keeps an eye on a "slipout" of earth on the side of Ortega Highway, 14 miles east of Interstate 5. Erosion from heavy rain on Sunday undermined a 40-foot length of guardrail and asphalt curb. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

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