Potholes worsened by storms damage dozens of cars and close lanes on Highway 71 in Pomona

Large potholes — made worse by a series of historic storms — damaged about 30 vehicles on the northbound lanes of Highway 71 in Pomona early Wednesday morning, officials said, forcing the California Highway Patrol to shut down the highway for hours until repairs can be made.

At one point, there were so many vehicles with flat tires and damaged rims near the Holt Avenue exit that some drivers couldn’t find space on the shoulder to stop, Joseph Davila said. , CHP officer.

Rain always poses a driving risk, including the possibility of creating more potholes and widening existing holes in the roadway. California was hit this week by its 11th riverine atmospheric storm of the season, dropping heavy rain and snow on an already soggy state.

“It’s something that comes up with every storm,” Davila said.

However, Wednesday’s long line of damaged cars on the side of the road set a new normal, he said.

“It’s been the worst so far,” Davila said.

Officers began receiving calls from damaged vehicles near Holt Avenue around 4:10 a.m. When officers arrived, about 20 vehicles were already stopped on the shoulder, he said.

“They suffered various damages to their vehicles, mainly to their tires and rims,” Davila said.

No injuries were reported, but authorities decided to close the highway. Drivers were diverted from Holt Avenue and allowed to re-enter the freeway at the next on-ramp.

The cause of the damage appears to be about five large “crater” potholes all within a short distance of each other, Davila said.

“They weren’t just little ones,” he said.

At least one of the potholes was about 4 feet in diameter, he said.

Northbound lanes were closed until at least noon while Caltrans crews worked to repair the road, Davila said. A lane on the south side of the freeway was also blocked for repair.

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