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West Ventura County Focus

OJAI : Road Reopens After February Landslide

July 31, 1993|LEONARD FLEMING

A section of California 33 closed since mid-February by a landslide was reopened on Friday after construction crews finished clearing tons of rock and rubble swept onto the road by heavy rain.

"I'm just glad we're finally done with this thing," said Wayne Johnson, area supervisor for Caltrans who oversaw the project. "It was a lot of hard work and the guys put in long hours."

Johnson and his deputy supervisor, Dan Wilhelm, spent nearly two months at the site, camping out in a motor home. Johnson said the only time he had been home to visit his wife in Simi Valley was on the July 4 weekend.

The road opening is good news to the residents in the Lockwood Valley area 60 miles northeast of Ojai.

Many were forced to use other routes, which took them miles out of their way.

The $35,000-a-day cleanup job, done by C.A. Rasmussen Inc. of Simi Valley and supervised by the state Department of Transportation, was originally expected to be completed by July 4.

However the project was delayed because of a barrage of problems.

At first, Caltrans and Los Padres National Forest officials could not find a suitable dump site for the 50,000 cubic yards of rubble.

They eventually received permission from a private landowner to dump the rock and debris on his property, located about two miles away from the slide.

But weeks after the job started, construction crews complained that it was unsafe to remove the debris. Construction was delayed again until July 6, when crews were able to climb on top of the slide in a bulldozer, Caltrans officials said.

Johnson said the construction crew worked each day for nearly 12 hours a day.

The cleanup, originally estimated at about $350,000, will cost Caltrans nearly $800,000, he said.

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