Mountain Highway Closed After Heavy Rain Compromises Lane

The north half of state Route 243 between Banning and Twin Pines was shut down Wednesday after heavy rains compromised one of the two lanes on the mountain highway.

“We’re hoping to get it fixed by tonight, but for now, the highway is closed,” Caltrans District 8 spokeswoman Terri Kasinga told City News Service about 2:30 p.m.

She said that shortly after 1 p.m., earthen support for one of the two lanes washed away when rain swept through the area, just south of Banning. The concrete remained intact and did not give way, according to photos from the scene supplied by Caltrans.

One lane was unaffected, but Kasinga said because crews have to maneuver across the entire highway to make repairs, both north- and southbound lanes have to be closed.

The contractor was dispatched, but as of 2 p.m., work had not started.

California Highway Patrol officers implemented a hard closure just north of Twin Pines, as well as at San Gorgonio Avenue at the south end of Banning.

The southern segment of the 243 between Mountain Center and Idyllwild has not been impacted by the winter weather so far.

According to Kasinga, the upper part of the highway was fully reopened at the start of the month following a roughly eight-month-long restoration project.

During a Valentine’s Day storm series that inflicted about $100 million in infrastructure damage throughout Riverside County, a portion of the 243 near Lake Fulmor completely collapsed, sliding down a mountainside.

The highway was restored at the location under an $8 million emergency repair contract with Burnsville, Minnesota-based Ames Construction Inc.

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