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Stretch of eastbound SR-78 in Oceanside closed for repairs

Traffic is now flowing again on the westbound 78 through Oceanside, but traffic headaches continue for North County commuters. Caltrans will now close the eastbound lanes for repairs. KPBS North County reporter Alexander Nguyen has details on how long the closure will last.

State transportation workers shut down one side of state Route 78 near MiraCosta College Wednesday for emergency repairs.

The roughly two-mile eastbound section of the freeway between College Boulevard and El Camino Real in Oceanside is expected to be closed for at least three weeks as crews finish fixing nine storm-damaged culverts, according to Caltrans.

A sinkhole that formed under the westbound lanes following heavy showers prompted a closure of that side of the route in the area on March 15. Those lanes reopened this week.


"Crews have been working 24-7 and faced four days of delays when more rains fell in the region since the repairs began," Caltrans spokesman Hayden Manning said. "Corrugated-steel pipes are being replaced with high-density plastic and concrete pipes."

As repair personnel finish the job, eastbound motorists will be detoured around the work site via El Camino Real, Vista Way, College Boulevard and Plaza Drive.

“The work is a little more complicated on this side because of the depth of the culverts. We're an additional 20 feet — 10 to 20 feet in depth," said Shawn Rizzutto, Caltrans Chief of Maintenance for San Diego and Imperial counties. "So it'll be a lot bigger hole that we're digging. And then we have eight additional locations that we'll be addressing on this side.”

The total cost of the project is estimated to be $20 million, with the funds coming from the California Highway Operation and Protection Program. Culverts are regularly inspected and assessed as part of the state Highway Asset Management Plan, Manning noted.

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