Crews have continued to work ’round the clock to clear avalanche snow from the Arctic Circle portion of Highway 18, between the Big Bear Dam and Snow Valley, in hopes of having to roadway open to weekend traffic—though, for the time being, the front grade of Highway 18 remains closed. Keep it tuned to KBHR 93.3 FM today, as we will bring you updates on the re-opening of Highway 18 and our road conditions as information becomes available. As emergency snow removal contractor Andy Acosta told us yesterday, “We’re going to keep working until they tell us to stop, or the road is opened.”
For the time being [as of 9am], limited chain controls do remain in effect for the west end of the Valley; R2 chain requirements apply to Highway 18, or Big Bear Boulevard, from Pine Knot Avenue in the Village west to the Big Bear Dam through Boulder Bay, as well as the North Shore portion of Highway 38 west from Stanfield Cutoff through the Fawnskin area. This R2 requirement means that you must have chains on the drive wheels of your vehicle, unless in a four-wheel drive with snow tires on all four wheels and carrying chains. If coming or going from the mountain today, Highway 18 west to Lucerne Valley and Highway 38 through Angelus Oaks are open and free of chain requirements [again, as of 9am].
Update: We have some very exciting news on our road situation as of this afternoon. Despite Governor Schwarzenegger’s mandated Friday furloughs for CalTrans employees, local CalTrans crews, as well as the Big Bear-based A.J. Acosta Company, have worked tirelessly to clear the Arctic Circle portion of Highway 18 of avalanche snow, and as of noon today, Highway 18 is officially re-opened! Highway 18 had been closed since Monday, due to avalanches which resulted in snow drifts as deep as 15 feet on the seven-or-so mile stretch from the Big Bear Dam to Snow Valley. Just a week earlier, the Arctic Circle had been closed for three days, also due to avalanche snow. But, again, as of this time, Highway 18 is open to motorists, and in time to accommodate weekend visitors to the Big Bear Valley. Highway 38 to Redlands and Highway 18 to Lucerne Valley are also open, and free of chain requirements.