The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has begun a $2.25 million emergency project on State Route 189 near Lake Arrowhead.
Due to severe storm activity in the area, the roadway showed signs of stress and began to slip out. Caltrans GeoTech and Maintenance crews promptly closed the route on March 20 and were able to finalize evaluations.
Emily Leinen, the manager of external affairs for Caltrans, told The Alpine Mountaineer that “the road basically did what was similar to the SR-18 Red Rock Wall. It was a slip-out where the slope starts to slip/erode away. It also damaged and bulged out the retaining wall that is below the highway.
“The repair,” Leinen said, “will actually be just like the Red Rock Wall project. We received an emergency director’s order to begin construction. The contractor, Sukut Construction, is onsite and is already evaluating items needed and bringing in equipment and materials.”
According to a Caltrans press release, the contractor was on scene on Tuesday, April 4. Crews are bringing in additional equipment, changeable message signs and have begun removing snow, existing guardrail, loose rock wall and damaged pavement. Operations will include roadway excavation, slope repair, retaining wall repair, pavement operations and striping.
Currently, SR-189 remains closed from the intersection of North Bay Road and Highway 189 (by the Blue Jay cinema) to slightly west of SR-173 (by the entrance to Lake Arrowhead Village). Motorists still have access to Lake Arrowhead Village but will not be allowed directly through the work zone. They must go around to get to the Village using SR-18 to SR-173.
Crews will be working from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday and possible weekends to assist in reopening the route as quickly as possible.
Currently, a reopening estimate is three to four months. Crews are working on removing a large amount of loose debris, which adds to the timeline. As material is cleared away, and the area becomes dryer, a better estimate will be provided.