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Crumbled concrete repaired on 91 Freeway, reopening 2 closed lanes

April 22, 2011 |  9:45 am

Van The 91 Freeway in Riverside was back in operation Friday after two lanes began to buckle and crumble, forcing officials to shut down the westbound freeway, an official said.

The problems near the Van Buren Boulevard exit were first reported about 1:30 p.m. Thursday, and two of the four westbound lanes were closed from 3 to 5 p.m. for repair work, backing up traffic for about 10 miles, said Caltrans spokeswoman Terri Kasinga.

“To have to close roads at a moment’s notice is unusual,” Kasinga said. “It created a major traffic issue.”

A crew of about 10 Caltrans workers replaced a portion of freeway about 20 feet wide and 1 foot deep, she said. The failure could have been caused partly by recent heavy rains, she added.

The failure underscores the budgetary issues Caltrans and other state agencies are facing this year, she said. The toll of trucks, commuters and winter weather has been “brutal” on the 91 and other highways in the area, such as the 60 and 215, but Caltrans has limited resources to fund maintenance and repairs.

“We have improvements that could be made on a lot of our freeways out here — the pavement is aged and there’s a lot of work that needs to be done,” Kasinga said. “But with the budget crisis the way it is, we don’t have the money.”

The agency planned to apply for reimbursement for the work through the Federal Highway Administration. There were no injuries or accidents caused by the cracked pavement, she said.

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-- Sam Allen

Map shows location of where concrete began to buckle and crumble on the 91 Freeway. Source: Google Maps

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