Good News: Highway 74 may open late tomorrow afternoon, according to Terri Kasinga, Public Information Officer, CalTrans Maintenance - District 8. All the work may take weeks, but the Highway will be safe for traffic sometime this weekend.
"We're hoping if everything goes perfectly, it will open 3 p.m. Saturday," she said today. "If some problems occur, it may be Sunday or Monday."
The roadwork is not complete and CalTrans will have work along the side of the road to complete the total repair and to remove the chance that water can build and wash it out again. This wok will occur over the next two to three weeks and could result in some traffic delays and road work flagging, but the Hwy 74 between Idyllwild and Hemet will still be open to use.
Oh yes, for all of you living east of Idyllwild and coming through Palm Desert, the road closure begins at Mountain Center to Hemet. Highway 74 to Mountain Center and Highway 243 from Mountain Center to Banning is totally opened. No need to turn around in Garner Valley, you can continue on to Idyllwild. Please visit tomorrow and have a nice weekend.
Now the bad news, the San Jacinto Ranger District will close Thomas Mountain (FS road 6S13) on Monday, Feb. 15. This closure is for public safety because of the road conditions and the chance of ice, mud, rock slides, washouts, flash flooding, slippery road surfaces and snow.
The closure will be in effect until further notice, pending road and weather conditions.
Firewood collection permit holders can still collect firewood at two other areas: Fern Basin and Idyllwild West (behind the Idyllwild Arts Academy). If this closure leaves firewood permit holders unable to collect all the firewood purchased, extension will be issued. Please contact the Idyllwild Ranger station for more information (909) 382-2922.