SAN DIEGO — Great news for drivers in North County: all lanes of State Route 78 are expected to reopen this week.

Caltrans officials confirmed to FOX 5 Sunday evening that the seven-week long closure to the eastbound lanes will be coming to an end before Monday’s evening commute. The road is paved and ready for striping, as of Sunday evening.

“I’m happy to report that we’ve almost completed all of the repairs on (SR-78),” said Shawn Rizzutto, Caltrans Division Chief of Maintenance for District 11. “We’re planning on opening it (Monday) afternoon.”

The reopening of the eastbound lanes, however, is weather dependent. As Rizzutto explained, if a strong marine layer comes in, the drying of the stripping could be delayed to Tuesday.

Nonetheless, crews have worked through rain and shine to complete the emergency repairs since March, when one culvert collapsed amid this year’s heavy winter storms.

Emergency repairs were initially expected to take a few days, but crews soon found the problem was much bigger than expected: nine failing culverts were identified along both sides of the freeway.

The damage resulted in a nearly two-month closure, which has created headaches for drivers and a decline in traffic to some businesses in the area.

Ktija Taco Shop and Spirito’s Italian Diner said they are used to busy days, but have both seen a slow down during the closure.

“Our sales have gone down, the other day our customers was in traffic for 1 hour trying to get her food here,” Maria Lua, manager of Kotija Taco Shop off College Boulevard, told FOX 5. She said sales had dropped around 30 to 40% because they don’t have as many people driving by, given the closure to the SR-78.

Spirito’s Italian Diner off El Camino Real said that it’s taken their employees much longer to get to work during the closure, and it’s been tough for people to stop in for lunch during the workday. Traffic along the detour route is the reason for these issues, they said.

“It’s going to be great, because we staff for a busy day all the time,” Jamie Spirito with Spirito’s Italian Diner said.

“Even for us as workers to come into the shop, you have to wait so long, I used to get up 15 mins early to come here, now its 40 mins to get here,” Lua said.

The westbound lanes were first shut down for the emergency repairs before construction moved to the eastbound lanes in early April.

According to Rizzutto, crews had to dig more than 40 feet below the freeway to complete the necessary repairs on both sides of the freeway. It was one of the biggest projects completed in a short time frame, across his decades in the business.

“Doing that in a seven week time period is pretty incredible,” Rizzutto said. “The amount of work that was done — we had at least nine contractors working simultaneously along this route, in order to expedite the work.”

Now the business are looking forward to having less traffic on the freeway, and more traffic inside their business.

“I’m really happy its going to be opening back on Monday,” Spirito said. “We’ve made it through a lot of challenges.”

Caltrans officials similarly feel some relief coming to the highly-anticipated completion of the project and are appreciative of the public’s patience during the repairs.

“I know it seems like its been a long time for the public and the community, from getting your kids to school, picking them up in the afternoon, to the business that have had been affected by the closure of SR-78,” Rizzutto said, “but it was really necessary to do this work in the time frame that we did it in, because of the safety factor we needed to account for.”

The full cost of repairs to the stretch of SR-78 is estimated to be about $21 million, according to Caltrans. Officials say some additional work will be continued by crews as they finish hyper seeding on the hillside along SR-78, but it will have minimal to no impact on drivers.