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Storm delays Crest opening

Rainstorms and rock falls slow final steps needed to reopen road.

December 22, 2010|By Joe Piasecki, joe.piasecki@latimes.com

Before the skies opened up a week ago, Caltrans was very close to completing repairs needed to open Angeles Crest Highway, which has been closed up to Mt. Wilson Road since January due to roadway washouts and other post-Station-fire storm damage.

Officials hadn't announced an opening date, warning that wet weather could stall completion of paving efforts planned for Friday and Saturday at two spots — one approximately a mile north of the Angeles National Forest 's entrance from La Cañada Flintridge, the other approximately eight miles into the forest and three miles east of the Angeles Forest Highway junction, spokesman Patrick Chandler said.

Lane striping, which cannot be accomplished in wet weather, had also been planned for the weekend if paving was completed.

"Once striped, we would consider conditions on the roadway safe for motorists to use," Chandler said.

As of press time, however, heavy rains and small amounts of falling debris had postponed efforts to re-open the highway.

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"There have been some rock falls up on SR-2, but really no more than we'd expect in rain like this," said spokeswoman Kelly Markham. "Because it's raining, we can't complete the striping and the paving operations, but we will begin again as soon as the rain lets up. "

Rainfall is expected to cease, at least for now, by Thursday; but light rains may fall again Christmas day.

Storms pummeling the mountain and foothill regions forced the early Sunday morning closure of county-maintained forest roads near the Station fire burn area, including Angeles Forest Highway, Big Tujunga Canyon Road and Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road. Those roads remain closed.

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