SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO ( – Storm damage prompted the complete closure Wednesday of State Route 74, also known as Ortega Highway, between Lake Elsinore and San Juan Capistrano, with no estimate on when the roadway would reopen.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the hard closure went into effect about 3 p.m. after Caltrans declared the corridor unsafe due to the compromised condition of the roadway. The damage was at mile marker 5.5, about a half-mile east of Gibby Road in Orange County, CHP reported. The highway was closed eastbound at Gateway Place and westbound at Nichols Institute.

Caltrans engineers determined the roadway was weakened by heavy rain. It was still assessing the damage and did not have an estimate on when the repairs would be complete.

Caltrans crews at the scene told KCAL9 they have to explore a 50 square-foot area around the damaged roadway. The damage may have been caused by a clogged galvanized pipe, crews said. The closure could last for weeks.

CHP reported that residents who live on roads connected to the Ortega Highway will be permitted to go around barricades and use the highway, but not in the vicinity of the damaged roadway.

The following detours were in place from Interstate 5:

Southbound I-5 to SR-76 east to I-15 north.
North I-5 to SR-55 to SR-91 east to I-15 south.

These detours were in place from Interstate 15:

North I-15 to SR-91 west to SR-55 south to I-5 south.
South I-15 to SR-76 west to I-5 north.

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