Broken Equipment Halts Work to Remove 50 Ton Rock From Highway 243

Broken Equipment Halts Work to Remove 50 Ton Rock From Highway 243

Broken Equipment Halts Work to Remove 50 Ton Rock From Highway 243

A photo tweeted Jan. 12, 2016 by Caltrans shows the SR-243 boulder removal process with specially fabricated equipment leased by the agency.

The roadway will remained closed until Caltrans can remove the boulder and repair the pavement.


IDYLLWILD, CA- Caltrans hopes to resume work Wednesday to remove an 18- foot boulder that fell onto State Route 243 near Idyllwild, closing the roadway indefinitely.

The job of breaking apart the boulder, which weighs 40 to 50 tons, began Tuesday morning with a rented, specially fabricated 50,000-pound excavator equipped with a hydraulic breaker, also known as a “stinger,” Caltrans spokeswoman Terri Kasinga said.

The fabricated attachment broke Tuesday afternoon.

“The attachment for (the) hydraulic breaker was modified to fit onto the excavator and is not readily available,” Kasinga said.

The piece was ordered late Tuesday and was expected to arrive at the job site Wednesday, after which the equipment was to be repaired so work could resume.

At the time the piece broke, crews had broken up about half of the boulder.

“Maintenance crews brought in additional Caltrans equipment and attempted to push the remains of the boulder to the shoulder … (but) the boulder pieces were still to large and too heavy to move,” Kasinga said.

Once the boulder and debris have been cleared from the roadway, Caltrans will make temporary repairs to the asphalt where the rock fell.

Rocks began falling on the highway, between Pine Cove Road and Franklin Avenue, about 10 p.m. Sunday and the massive boulder hit the road sometime later, Caltrans officials said.

Caltrans geotechnical staff conducted an investigation Monday and determined that the hillside slope from which the rocks fell is safe, the spokeswoman said.

Motorists traveling to Idyllwild were being advised to use State Route 74 through Hemet. The unincorporated community of Pine Cove can be accessed from Interstate 10, Kasinga said.