Caltrans update on Highway 33 closure

  • Cleanup operations underway on Highway 33 between Ojai and Lockwood Valley Road. [Caltrans photo]

    Cleanup operations underway on Highway 33 between Ojai and Lockwood Valley Road. [Caltrans photo]

VENTUCOPA, CA (Saturday, March 11, 2014 at 2:30 p.m.)—This release from Caltrans just received…The Maricopa Highway (SR-33) will remain closed to all but residents for the next two to three weeks as the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) removes rocks from the slopes 20 miles north of Ojai (Sespe Gorge) in an effort to prevent future rock slides. SR-33 has been closed since heavy storms passed through the area on March 1 and eroded the hillsides along the highway causing heavy rocks to become unstable and fall onto the highway. Caltrans geologists determined that the highway must remain closed until all unstable rocks have been removed from the slopes. The contractor will use long-reach excavators to remove loose rocks from the slopes. A temporary steel rock wall has been installed to prevent rocks from falling into the creek below during excavation.  Two feet of dirt will be placed on the roadway to prevent damage to the pavement. Ortiz Enterprises Inc. of Irvine, California has been awarded this $750,000 emergency contract.

VENTUCOPA, CA (Saturday, March 7, 2014 at 6:15 p.m.)—A section of Highway 33 between Lockwood Valley Road and Wheeler Gorge near Ojai will remain closed until mid-March, according to a report by The Ventura County Star, which cites CHP as the source of the information.

VENTUCOPA, CA (Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 12:45 p.m.)—Highway 33 was closed on Friday, Feb. 28 at 12:37 p.m. from Ojai to Lockwood Valley Road, due to mud and rock slides during the rain. According to a CHP report at 8:49 a.m. on Saturday, March 1, Caltrans was waiting for geologists to examine the situation. A section of the highway was reopened between Fairview Road in Ojai and Wheeler Gorge at 9:24 a.m. on Saturday, leaving the roadway closed between Wheeler Gorge and Lockwood Valley Road until further notice. Motorists are advised to use an alternate route.

This is part of the February 28, 2014 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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