OJAI : California 33 Debris Removal Delayed

Efforts by Caltrans officials to remove tons of rocks and rubble that have blocked a six-mile portion of California 33 for nearly four months will not be completed until early August, officials said Tuesday.

C.A. Rasmussen of Simi Valley, the construction company Caltrans hired in June to remove the debris, had hoped to have the project done by the Fourth of July weekend but was delayed because of safety concerns.

"We wanted them to be able to work in a stable location," said Caltrans spokesman Dave Servaes. "They were working from the bottom side (of the slide) and that was just too dangerous."

The section of California 33, about 25 miles north of Ojai, has been closed since Feb. 19 when a rainstorm caused tons of rubble to fall on the road.

Construction workers have moved to the top of the debris, which will allow them to push it off and into dump trucks so it can be hauled away. Caltrans and Los Padres National Forest officials agreed to place the debris on a privately owned ranch about two miles from the site.

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