SAN DIEGO — There’s some relief for drivers in North County as Caltrans reopens the westbound lanes on the State Route 78 after nearly a month. 

But the repair work is far from over.

All of the eastbound lanes between College Boulevard and El Camino Real are closed for the next three weeks as Caltrans, once again, repairs several aged culverts.

“Most of the pipes in this area are 70 years old,” said Shawn Rizzutto, Caltrans District 11 Division Chief of Maintenance.

The repairs needed on the SR-78 freeway in Oceanside were far greater than Caltrans anticipated, following a series of atmospheric rivers that drenched the region since the beginning of the year.

On Wednesday morning, Caltrans finally opened up two of the three westbound lanes of the freeway after they had to been shut down for emergency repairs.

“We were delayed because of several rain events. That was challenging for us, to work in the rain. There were some significant rainfall through this area,” said Rizzutto.

On March 15, flooding caused a sinkhole to open under the freeway. Workers fixed a pipe used to drain water that had collapsed.

In the process, crews discovered there were other pipes in very bad condition.

“The work is a little more complicated on this side because of the depths of the culverts and then we have eight additional locations that we will be a dressing on the side,” said Rizzutto.

In the meantime, there is a detour in place.  Drivers will be rerouted, once again, onto Vista Way.

Crews will be working 24/7 to complete the repairs, which will cost an estimated $20 million.