Highway 18 to Lucerne Valley, Feb. 18, 2019

Traffic was bumper to bumper on Highway 18 to Lucerne Valley as holiday visitors to Big Bear made their way home Feb. 18.

Caltrans has a long list of roads to repair after the Valentine’s Day storm of 2019. For the Big Bear area, that includes Highway 18 between Running Springs and the Bear Valley Dam.

State Route 18 remains closed from Green Valley Lake Road to the Bear Valley Dam for at least two weeks because of road loss and storm damage. Riverside Construction is the emergency contractor for the $2.5 million project. Repairs began over the holiday weekend.

Other road closures include State Route 243 from I-10 to Idyllwild, State Route 74 from Valle Vista to Mountain Center, State Route 173 from State Route 138 to Twin Ranch Road, State Route 2 from Grassy Hollow to Islip Saddle and State Route 74 from Lake Hemet to Mountain Center and Idyllwild. State Route 111 is partially open with one lane in each direction on the northbound side.

Meanwhile, chain restrictions are in place on mountain highways Tuesday, Feb. 19, because of icy conditions. Chains are required from Santa’s Village to Running Springs for all vehicles except four-wheel-drive vehicles with snow tires on all four wheels.

Chains are required on all vehicles except four-wheel-drive vehicles with snow tires on all four wheels from Mountain Home Village to Greenway Drive in Big Bear City.

Snow levels are expected to recede to 1,500 feet by the afternoon and evening of Wednesday, Feb. 20, through Thursday, Feb. 21, as another storm system approaches the San Bernardino Mountains. 

Motorists, residents and businesses are advised to check road conditions and chain controls before they travel. Do not pass any road closed signs and obey all commands from the California Highway Patrol, Caltrans and contractor crews for public safety. Use caution, slow down for weather conditions and use headlights while driving. Anticipate delays and longer travel time. Stock vehicles with water, snacks, blankets, a charged cellphone, flashlight and a full tank of gas before traveling.

Snow is expected at lower elevations such as Interstate 15 in the Cajon Pass and High Desert and Interstate 10 through Yucaipa to Banning.

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