State Route 243 will fully reopen on Thursday or Friday, according to Caltrans spokeswoman Terri Kasinga. The timeline has gone back and forth after it was destroyed in the Valentine’s Day flood.
At one point, officials said the repairs could take another year.
“Never did we expect the devastation that would follow on February 14 this year,” Kasinga said in a press conference months ago.
Kasinga said she hopes Tuesday night’s meeting will be their last with Idyllwild residents. SR 243 could be open Thursday or Friday at 6 p.m. at the latest.
Caltrans helped repave both Highways 74 and 243 after fires, flooding and storms destroyed them. Recently, drivers have been allowed up the mountain with an escort.
“It helped a little bit when they started doing escorts in the morning and the evenings but the weekend really helped out,” store owner Stephanie May said when the escorts began right before Labor Day.
Starting this week, no escorts will be needed. Residents and tourists are free to enter and exit as they please which businesses have been hoping for the whole time. Some stores in Idyllwild had to shut down due to the inconvenience over the past eight months.
Kasinga said the work isn’t completely over. There will still be flagging on small parts of both highways for culvert reconstruction as well as tree removal projects.
The new improvements were necessary with or without the destruction from the storms, Kasinga said. The new roads are being built up to sustain future flooding.
“In the areas that we’ve worked on and done the upgrades we’re pretty confident that those are going to hold up,” Kasinga said.
Caltrans will announce the good news to residents at 6 p.m. Tuesday night at Idyllwild School.