By Mary O’KEEFE
Los Angeles County Public Works and Caltrans have scheduled the reopening of Angeles Forest Highway and Angeles Crest Highway at the end of November.
“We are planning to open the Angeles Forest Highway at 5 a.m. on Nov. 30,” said Bob Spencer, chief, public affairs, L.A. County Public Works.
Patrick Chandler, spokesman for Caltrans, would not be that specific on the date.
“We will open within the end of November, first week of December,” Chandler said.
Several people have contacted Caltrans concerning the opening of the ‘Crest, he added.
Caltrans controls Angeles Crest Highway while public works is in charge of the Angeles Forest Highway. They have been working together to clean debris from the roads after the Station Fire.
The fire consumed much of the vegetation in the National Forest. Boulders, mud and dirt as well as other debris littered both highways. There were extensive repairs that needed to be done before the roads were deemed safe to travel.
“We will continue to patrol the highway every day for debris and there will be debris every single day,” Spencer said.
Chandler said he understood the public’s concern about the closure. The highway is a popular route between Palmdale/Lancaster to the Foothill (210) freeway. The highway has been closed since the Station Fire, Aug.26.
“We are very aware of the north county commuters,” Chandler said.
The highways are also popular for motorcyclists but Spencer cautions that the stretch of road is not as it was before the fire.
“In the event of inclement weather the highways will be closed again to everyone. What we may do, on the forecast of rain, is shut the road system down,” he added.
Mudflows and rockslides are very likely during a rain.
“The forest remains closed to the general public. Anyone caught parking on the side of the road or walking into the forest will probably get cited by the U.S. Forest Service,” Spencer said.
For now the opening will accommodate those that use the route as a commute from home to the freeway.
“We will still have repair vehicles plus there are many private contractors on the roads. It will be pretty crowded as it is. So unless you have business in the forest or you are commuting you should stay off,” he added.
The L.A. County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion by Supervisor Michael Antonvich to direct public works to conduct a public outreach campaign. The purpose will be to answer any questions from the public concerning the opening of the Angeles Forest and Crest highways.
A public meeting is being scheduled for the Antelope Valley area.
Anyone wiith questions about the Angeles Crest Highway can contact Patrick Chandler at (213) 897-3630 or (213) 897-3656. For questions about Angeles Forest Highway contact Bob Spencer at (626) 458-4070. Residents and commuters can receive free road closure warnings and updates via email by going to www.dpwcare.gov or www.dpw.lacounty.gov and registering to receive eNotify alerts.