Jul 30, 2014
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UPDATED: CHP Reopens Ortega Highway to Residents Only on Limited Schedule

Residents will only be allowed to reenter the area with CHP escorts.

UPDATED: CHP Reopens Ortega Highway to Residents Only on Limited Schedule

Updated at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 6: As the Ortega Highway remained closed Tuesday due to the Falls Fire, California Highway Patrol announced its schedule for providing escorts for residents who live off Highway 74.

Beginning at 5 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, residents only—with a valid ID—may come to the Highway 74 entrance at Grand Avenue and Lake Elsinore, according to CHP Temecula area Capt. Ernie Sanchez. 

Five cars at a time will be permitted through, Sanchez told Patch.

Then at 6:31 p.m., the roadway will be closed again due to shift changes for firefighters. It will reopen again at 7:31 p.m. for one hour only for residents with CHP escorts, Sanchez said.

The Ortega will then be closed again to everyone until 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, when residents—escorted by CHP—can come and go until 7:30 a.m. when the closure will resume.

It will reopen again at lunch time, between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, for residents with CHP escorts, and again between 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. that evening.

Sanchez said five cars will be let through at a time, and that CHP will likely be following this same schedule for the next three to four days.

Sanchez said the limited access for residents would only be available from the Lake Elsinore side of the highway, at Grand Avenue.

Because of the blaze that broke out Monday morning, SR-74  has been closed to all traffic until further notice, CHP spokesman Nathan Baer has said Monday night in a released statement.

Baer said the CHP wanted to inspect the road Tuesday for fire damage. In the meantime, residents would only be allowed to reenter the area with CHP escorts, he said. 

Westbound lanes of the Ortega are closed at Grand Avenue in Lake Elsinore, and eastbound lanes will be closed at South Main Divide, Baer said. 

On Tuesday morning, the city of San Juan Capistrano said Ortega remained closed from Antonio Parkway in San Juan Capistrano to Grand Avenue in Lake Elsinore.

—Toni McAllister and Maggie Avants contributed to this report.

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