Beginning next week, nightly closures are planned along the entire stretch of the Ortega (74) Highway between Lake Elsinore and the Orange County line, prompting Caltrans to advise motorists to consider alternate routes to avoid protracted travel delays.

In late February, Watsonville-based Granite Construction began a series of modifications along the highway as part of the $49 million State Route 74 Widening Project. The work has progressed, with recurring lane closures, and roadway excavation is the next objective, requiring full shutdowns of the two-lane corridor, officials said.

The closures are slated to begin Monday night and continue until May 19.

“This work will occur Monday through Friday nightly, during the hours of 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.,” according to a Caltrans District 8 statement. “It is advised (motorists) use an alternative route to avoid long wait delays, such as state Route 91 and Interstate 15.”

Residents who live in communities lining the highway will be permitted to come and go under limited circumstances — as long as they can show proof of residency to California Highway Patrol officers, according to Caltrans.

The project entails a multi-stage effort intended to enhance safety along the two-lane corridor. Most of the work is focused on widening existing west- and eastbound lanes to 12 feet, as well as expanding shoulders on both sides to four feet, according to Caltrans.

Crews are additionally installing in-ground rumble strips for the highway centerline and shoulders.

The upgrades are concentrated in the area spanning Monte Vista Street, just west of Lake Elsinore, to the OC line, a roughly 10-mile stretch.

The project is slated for completion in early 2025.

More information is available at

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