OCEANSIDE, Calif. — The westbound lanes of State Route 78 in Oceanside are closed Thursday for emergency repairs to a sinkhole that formed after heavy flooding.
All lanes from College Boulevard to El Camino Real are expected to be closed until Saturday, according to Caltrans.
Drivers will be detoured to the College Blvd./ Vista Way off-ramp, then go west on Vista Way and then to the SR-78 on-ramp at El Camino Real.
Once the repairs are completed on the westbound lanes of the freeway, crews will close all eastbound lanes of SR-78 in the area for repairs. Caltrans says they expect to release an updated construction schedule Friday.
The California Department of Transportation says they are working with local partners to address the flooding issue on SR-78 from College Boulevard to El Camino Real. The agency is working to temporarily repair a gaping hole underneath two lanes on westbound SR-78 to make it safe for drivers. However, the agency said they are waiting for a permanent fix.
On Wednesday, SR-78 westbound was initially reduced to one lane. Recent rainstorms caused undermining of the shoulder, according to Caltrans. The agency said a metal pipe culvert underneath the freeway is collapsing, leading to a dip in the road of two lanes. The two lanes were closed for most of the day Wednesday.
“We did some work a couple of weeks ago to address that temporarily while we ordered the material to replace the culvert,” said Shawn Rizzutto, the chief maintenance for Division 11 for Caltrans.
While Caltrans waits for new culvert pipe, crews will start filling the voids, pave the road back up to grade because of a one-foot depression, then reopen all lanes by Monday.
Drivers dealt with flooding that forced a shutdown on eastbound SR-78 Wednesday morning.
Caltrans says the nearby Buena Vista Creek has overgrown. California Highway Patrol noted that the freeway is in a low-lying area that is prone to flooding.
“We need to work through the permitting process and our partners in the local agencies to clear that, and that takes some time. We are working with our local partners to address that,” Rizzutto said.
During the rain, Caltrans has crews out on storm patrol. The agency said drivers should slow down when seeing crews out working and obey the “Move Over” law.
On Thursday, morning travelers were faced with heavy traffic conditions.
“We always drive through here and all of a sudden there was a sinkhole. This is bad. This is really bad,” said Robert Bartlett, an Oceanside resident. “Traffic around here is out of control. Both sides, so don’t come.”
FOX 5’s Sir Milo Loftin and Elizabeth Alvarez contributed to this report.