Still closed ahead of possible rain

IRVINE (CBS) — As Orange County braces for possible rain this weekend, the final stretch of the mud-covered Foothill (241) Toll Road between Irvine and Corona was cleared but not reopened Saturday.

A Caltrans official said the road was closed and that no plans had been made yet to reopen it. CHP records had indicated earlier in the day that it had been reopened.

All southbound lanes of Route 241 had been reopened on Tuesday.

Caltrans workers and contractors working for the toll road’s owners, the Transportation Corridor Agencies, were overwhelmed with mud, silt and water when a series of “Pineapple Express” rains hit 11 days ago, on Dec. 22.

The gunk spilled down a hillside at Loma Ridge where contractors were working to stabilize erosion, burying the pavement and miring some motorists.

Some drove across a muddy median to escape, only to bog down in the morass, while others drove out of the area on the wrong side of the divided toll road.

The pre-Christmas landslide blocked two of the three fingers of the toll road system that directly connects Riverside County with southern Orange County. Relatively-light holiday traffic was detoured onto the always-crowded routes 55 and 91, and Interstate 5, while the toll roads were blocked.

Traffic heading to or from the toll road via Jamboree Road, Route 261, could get through to the main leg of the toll road, but connections to Route 133 and the southern leg of Route 241 had been blocked.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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