Highway 18 Closure: 4 Days Becomes 2 Months

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) reissued a press release on Monday, Feb. 10 regarding the closure of Highway 18 between the Highway 138 connector and Lake Gregory Drive. One of the significant changes is the project’s estimated duration.

Initially, Caltrans said the project would begin on Feb. 11 and conclude on Feb. 14.

But according to Caltrans Public and Media Affairs Chief Terri Kasinga, the project will now run an estimated two months, concluding at the end of April. 

Kasinga said the April end-date is largely dependent upon the weather.

Already the project has been delayed due to high winds affecting the mountain communities. Rock splitting was originally slated for Feb. 11. But with wind gusts reaching 42mph on Tuesday morning, the decision was made to postpone the project. 

Additionally, the scope of the project has broadened. 

“The project will replace two damaged rock slope nets on the upper slope, clean out the rock fall barriers and make repairs to other damaged netting locations,” the press release stated. 

As reported in the Feb. 6 issue of the Mountain News, a flagging operation will be in effect from the Highway 138 connector to Lake Gregory Drive. 

“Motorists can either wait in a queue to be escorted through, or they can use an alternative route such as Lake Gregory Drive [to Lake Drive] to Highway 138,” stated Caltrans Public Information Officer Emily Leinen. 

In the latest press release, Caltrans states that “delays are expected to be approximately fifteen minutes.” But Leinen cautioned that queue times may be up to 30 minutes and commuters should plan accordingly.

No work will be conducted during the week of Feb. 17.