Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Maricopa Highway (SR-33) Closed for Rock Slide Removal in Northern Ventura County

Update 3/17: SR-33 is expected to open within the next one to two weeks.  Crews still removing potential and past rock slides from highway.

Update 3/18: As crews removed loose rocks from the slope along SR-33 near Sespe Gorge, a large boulder was found sitting on a rock slide plane.  This large boulder may fall onto the highway if it is not stabilized.  A Caltrans geologist has recommended the construction of a concrete buttress that would tie into a trench at road level to keep the boulder from sliding down.   Because of this extra work the highway is expected to be closed an additional week to two weeks.
Concrete buttress

Update 3/24:  The contractor has begun construction of the concrete buttress and expects to open the highway to motorists by Friday, March 28 or earlier.
Rebar has been drilled into the rock for construction of the concrete buttress.
Update 3/26:  The contractor will pour the concrete to construct the rock buttress.  The buttress will help to enhance motorist safety and support a load of rocks that could potentially slide onto the highway. 

From Wheeler Gorge to the rock slide near Sespe Gordge, Caltrans maintenance have been repairing slopes, berms, washouts, rock and debris slides, and shoulder drop-offs to enhance safety for motorists and protect the roadway from erosion.  The CHP is located at on both sides of the closure.  Violators may and have been cited.

The highway is expected to open by the end of this week.

Update 3/27:  SR-33 opened to all motorists at 5:45 p.m.  Construction work will continue throughout the week and traffic control will be in place. 

Video of the rock slide being removed (3/13/2014)
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.  

Pictures of the work to remove the rock slide and potential slide material (3/13/2014):