Caltrans working to reopen Highway 18 in San Bernardino after storm leads to rockslide, sinkhole

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- Emergency repairs are underway to fill a gaping hole along the southbound lanes of Highway 18 in San Bernardino, and Caltrans officials say they hope to have the highway reopened during the first week of February.

The $4.2 million Caltrans project hopes to restore the route, which serves residents and visitors to the San Bernardino Mountains.

"Essentially what we are doing here is rebuilding the slope by packing back in materials at the site," said Caltrans spokeswoman Emily Leinen.

In December, a storm caused a rockslide that led to the creation of a giant sinkhole after heavy rain washed away a chunk of the roadway downhill, taking out a guardrail and two lanes of traffic.

"We had larger debris from up top above the culvert on the actual north-side of the mountain right here...came down and blocked the inlet to the culvert," said Leinen.

Wrightwood officials concerned over traffic chaos faced by first responders
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Wrightwood officials say visitors double parking and food vendors setting up shop on the road are some of the issues creating gridlock for first responders on their way to emergencies.

Since then the highway has been closed to traffic, which cut off direct access to the mountains communities and had residents taking a lengthy detour around the closure.

"We are hoping and anticipating this route to be reopened to the public first week of February," explained Leinen. "This is weather dependent. So, if we get some bad weather coming in, that might delay the project and the reopening, but we're hopeful it will stay dry the next couple of weeks."

Drivers may not have to wait another four weeks to travel the roadway. Beginning Friday at 3 p.m., a pilot car will help guide drivers up and down the northbound lanes of Highway 18 until repairs are completed.
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