The eastbound lane of Laguna Canyon Road was closed for more than 12 hours Tuesday in the 2800 block after a suspected drunk driver ran into a utility pole and knocked telephone wires into the roadway, police said.
Michael Phillips, 40, of Phoenix was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and taken to Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo. He is in serious condition with a head injury, dislocated hip and fractured ribs, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Phillips was eastbound at 1:22 a.m. when his car left the pavement in the area known as Big Bend.
Initially, Laguna Canyon Road was closed to traffic in both directions, but police were able to open the westbound lane before the morning commute. However, the traffic flow was still crippled because police used the single open lane to alternately shuttle groups of eastbound and westbound traffic along the eastbound lane. The road was reopened in both directions about 1:30 p.m, Sgt. Don Barney said.
Crews from Southern California Edison and General Telephone were needed to removed the telephone and electric lines from the roadway.
The Police Department received more than 100 calls from aggravated motorists and residents who wanted to know the reason for the lane closure.
"It had a major impact on traffic," Barney said. "Laguna Canyon Road is one of the major arteries in and out of the city."