Highway 330 re-opens for Memorial Day weekend

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Steven Cuevas/KPCC

Caltrans and state emergency officials inspect a damaged section of Highway 330 near Highland on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011. It could take up to two years to repair the storm-damaged roadway.

Storm-battered Highway 330 in the San Bernardino Mountains has reopened to traffic Friday months ahead of schedule, but it will promptly close again after the three-day weekend for a final round of repairs.

The long ribbon of twisting mountain highway connects the Inland Valley to San Bernardino Mountain resort towns. So when a rain-soaked bluff near Crestline gave way underneath, there was a lot of pressure to shore it up fast. December storms clawed a 90-foot wide chasm in the highway. Muddy hunks of pavement and guardrail slid 600-feet down a steep ravine. Crews worked around the clock rebuilding the bluff in sections, like a layer cake.

Now Caltrans spokeswoman Terri Kasinga says all the work is nearly done.

"We had some good weather but the contractors have really been committed and they were working seven days a week, 24 hours a day they just really did an outstanding job. Once we got in here and started doing some of the work I think we realized it wasn’t gonna take as long," Kasinga said.

Caltrans estimates that the $23 million job will keep the 330 shut down at least through the end of the year. Through Memorial Day, the highway will be open to all traffic including trucks and buses. A restricted commuter schedule resumes on Tuesday. Caltrans hopes to complete all its repairs by July 4.

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