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Workers are seen repairing the eastbound roadside, grading the pipe inlet by the headwall and finishing up the slope repair along Ortega Highway. Photo: Courtesy of Caltrans
Workers are seen repairing the eastbound roadside, grading the pipe inlet by the headwall and finishing up the slope repair along Ortega Highway. Photo: Courtesy of Caltrans

By Allison Jarrell

San Juan Capistrano commuters may see some relief this week. Caltrans officials announced Monday that due to “very good progress on the repairs,” Ortega Highway is expected to reopen “sometime this week.”

The highway has been closed eastbound at Gateway Place and westbound at Nichols Institute since Jan. 25 due to severe damage caused by heavy rainfall. Caltrans assessed the depth of the damage, which ran 30 feet down, hired an emergency contractor, and began repairing the road by stabilizing deep voids with grout, putting in a new drainage ditch, and rebuilding. According to a Caltrans Facebook post on Monday, paving is expected to take place Tuesday.

Officials had initially estimated on Jan. 31 that it could take three weeks to reopen the highway, so an opening this week puts repairs a few days ahead of schedule.

“We’re really pleased with the progress,” Whitfield said.

The closure going eastbound in Orange County is near Cristianitos and Gibby Roads in San Juan Capistrano, east of Antonio Parkway and La Pata Avenue. Coming westbound from Riverside County, the closure is at Nichols Institute Road in San Juan Capistrano.

For continuous updates on the closure, follow Caltrans District 12’s Facebook page “CT Santa Ana” or Twitter account @Caltrans12, contact the District 12 public information office at 657.328.6000, or visit www.dot.ca.gov/d12/index.html.

Detours:

Interstate 5:
South I-5 to East SR-76 to North I-15
North I-5 to SR-55 to East SR-91 to South I-15

Interstate 15:
North 1-15 to Westbound SR-91 to South SR-55 to South I-5
South 1-15 to Westbound SR-76 to North 1-5

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