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Storm-damaged California 243, the road to Idyllwild, reopens after Feb. 14 closure

Highway 243 in Riverside County broke apart during the storms, earlier in the year, when heavy rains caused the soil to erode under the road. The highway, which was closed since February for construction, will open at 6 p.m. Friday.
California 243 in Riverside County broke apart during storms earlier in the year, when heavy rains caused the soil to erode under the road. The highway reopened Friday.
(Caltrans District 8 / Associated Press)

Nearly eight months after storms tore it apart, California 243, the most direct route to the popular hiking trails of Idyllwild, reopened Friday.

The alpine community of Idyllwild, about 105 miles southeast of Los Angeles, was partly cut off because of the damage.

The California Department of Transformation, along with Ames Construction company, led the reconstruction effort to remove debris, replace culverts and rebuild sturdier embankments to mitigate any future debris falls on the highway, said Shane Massoud, public information officer at Caltrans.

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California 243 and Idyllwild
(@latimesgraphics, NetZen, OpenStreetMap )

The reopening was initially scheduled for next year, but favorable weather conditions helped accelerate the process, Massoud said.

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Sitting at least 5,200 feet above Palm Springs in the San Jacinto Mountains, the scenic getaway spot is about two hours from both Los Angeles and San Diego. Those traveling to Idyllwild can monitor the traffic and lane closures along the route in real time using Caltrans alerts.


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