Caltrans work to fix closed Pomona freeway

POMONA, Calif. That ramp, between Interstate 10 westbound and the State Route 57 northbound is now closed indefinitely.

The same section of road was shut down for six weeks due to a landslide not too long ago, and it has happened again. This time, only the northbound transition road of the 57 from the westbound 10 is affected. As Caltrans works hard at trying to get everything fixed, commuters will need to take detours yet again.

The problems began just before 9 a.m. Sunday when the hillsides started to buckle, taking out a 4,000-pound cement K-rail. A motorist saw this happen and called 911. No drivers were injured but Caltrans engineers will have to spend the next several days fixing the section of the northbound 57.

"The way I feel about it is they should have done it right the first time. If they'd done it right the first time, it wouldn't happen again," said Brandon Rogers, who commutes from Riverside daily, going to different car dealerships installing motor lifts. Now, he says that business will be impacted.

"It just makes a big hassle when you can't get from one freeway to the next. I have to take another freeway to get to that one, and usually that freeway is more jammed packed than any other one," said Rogers. "Everyone is taking the same one now, so it just makes it a big old mess."

"You're going to be an hour late because everybody gets on the same ramp so everybody gets stuck in all the traffic and it's just really terrible," said Upland resident Christopher Garrison.

On Feb. 18, a massive piece of the hillside came barreling down, completely covering the transition roads from both the 71 and 10 freeways to the northbound 57. For six weeks, drivers had to find a detour.

Caltrans officials say that although that this slide isn't as bad as before, they warn commuters to expect the northbound 57 transition from the 10 west and one lane from the 71 north to be shut down for at least two weeks.

"Mother Nature is an unknown entity and now the hillside has become re-saturated, something that we could not have predicted. So, we're back out here again to repair it," said Caltrans worker Deborah Harris. "We're sorry for the inconvenience. We understand that, but safety is our number one priority."

"It's going to be very much an inconvenience," said Pomona resident Marty Alexander. "It kind of makes you wonder about any one of these hills where the freeway passes by, if they're all safe."

"That's frightening. They may have to take that ramp off build something new there, and that's going to be quite a bit of work and tax payers' money," said Fontana resident Rod Brewster.

In the past, Caltrans spent $3 million to stabilize the hillsides and also sprayed it with seed mixture. This time, workers say they may have to build a step-like abutment so the grading won't be as severe.

The closure is slated to last several weeks, and Caltrans warns residents to expect delays.

If you are coming from east on I-10 Monday morning, it's suggested that you take I-15 north if you want to transition onto the 210 Freeway. You can also take the Via Verdes exit on I-10 and that will take you to 57 north. You can expect delays on all of those detours.

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