Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

All eastbound lanes of the Riverside (91) Freeway around the Orange-Riverside county line were blocked for several hours Wednesday by a mud-and rockslide that trapped several vehicles but caused no injuries, authorities said.

The debris flow was reported west of Green River Road, and just west of the Riverside County line in Orange County, shortly before 2 a.m, said California Highway Patrol Officer Jon Latosquin. The flow trapped five to seven vehicles, according to the CHP’s online incident log.

All of the lanes were reopened by about 1:05 p.m., Latosquin said. A crash about 11:45 a.m. on the eastbound 91 just west of the Eastern Transportation Corridor (241) worsened traffic, he added.

“It was horrible,” Latosquin said of traffic jams on the 91 this morning. Traffic backed up for a few miles, he added.

The transition road from the northbound Eastern Transportation Corridor (241) to the eastbound 91 was also closed at one point following the mudslide, the log reported.

Shortly after 7 a.m., CHP officers reopened the FasTrak lane and the Numbers 1, 2 and 3 lanes on the 91, the CHP reported. And about 8:35 a.m., officers began reopening the transition road from the northbound 241 to the eastbound 91, Latosquin said.

CHP Sgt. T. Koehler said the debris flow occurred at a point where the base of an adjacent hillside was about 20 feet from freeway lanes.

Koehler said the debris flow came from a recently burned area of the hillside and spread across seven lanes and both shoulders of the eastbound freeway. A fire that originated on the freeway when a pickup truck burst into flames after a collision with another vehicle spread to 25 acres of the adjacent hillside on Sept. 10.

Vehicles caught in the debris today were finally extricated almost two hours after the initial incident, according to the incident log.

The storms that swept Orange and L.A. counties took their toll on freeway traffic, with four separate incidents reported in 14 minutes on separate stretches of the southbound Golden State (5) freeway from 4:08 a.m., authorities said.

—City News Service

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