MECCA – The Riverside County Transportation Department has reopened Box Canyon Road, following a months-long repair effort.

Box Canyon Road, a scenic route between the Mecca Hills and Interstate 10 near Chiriaco Summit, was washed out by a storm on Sept. 30, 2018. A subsequent storm Oct. 12-13 eroded the initial clean-up efforts and caused additional damage. The road was completely gone through most of the eight-mile portion within the canyon.

A $3 million road repair project, performed by Granite Construction Company, began in February and concluded on May 3 — ahead of schedule.

On Sept. 30, rain pummeled the area when nearly 3 inches fell within a two-hour period.

Box Canyon connects to Cottonwood Springs Road, which leads into Joshua Tree National Park.

“Box Canyon Road is used by hikers, campers, leisure travelers, and workers, with access to the Painted Canyons, a spectacular natural attraction in the eastern Coachella Valley,” Supervisor V. Manuel Perez said in a prepared statement. “Granite Construction crews and the Transportation Department did terrific work to reopen this road so we can again utilize this beautiful and important route.”

Rains also forced the closure of North Shore Community Park after it opened Oct. 1.

Last month, the Riverside County Transportation Department resumed repair to the bridge along Avenue 70 in North Shore. The project is expected to be completed in late June. The road has been closed to traffic between Cleveland Street and Windward Drive since flash flooding on Sept. 30.

The Avenue 70 bridge spans the Coachella Canal Wasteway No. 1, which is operated and maintained by the Coachella Valley Water District. The wasteway channel conveys storm water during peak flooding events.

In late September, a contractor for the water district was in the process of removing and replacing the existing canal lining as part of a channel improvement project. The contractor had removed the existing channel lining in entirety, with the exception of a short segment of lining under the Avenue 70 bridge, when a flash flood occurred.

The storm water flooded, overtopped and damaged the channel, damaged and washed away roadway east of the bridge crossing, washed away the remaining channel lining, and created a 40-foot gap behind the east bridge abutment and the road, exposing the abutment foundation.

A subsequent storm event on Oct. 12 further impacted the bridge. Following both storm events, Riverside County and California Department of Transportation structures engineers assessed the condition of the bridge and determined that the structure is salvageable.

Manuel Perez represents the eastern two-thirds of Riverside County on the Riverside County Board of Supervisors. Stretching from Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs, south to the Salton Sea and east to Blythe and the Colorado River. The Fourth District is the largest geographical district in the county.

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  • Box Canyon Road: Supervisor V. Manual Perez