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Caltrans finds cave dugouts at homeless encampments along Stockton's crosstown freeway

Photos show mud and dirt dug out to create several feet-wide caves on the side of a busy Stockton interchange.

STOCKTON, Calif. — As tens of thousands of cars cross the concrete pavement of Stockton's crosstown freeway each day, an issue below the surface and on the muddy slopes of the freeway is causing concerns for Caltrans. 

Photos show dirt and mud dug out from at least one hillside supporting state route four, Stockton's crosstown freeway. 

"Caltrans is aware of the encampments and excavation by individuals into the hillside at this location," said Caltrans spokesperson Warren Alford in a statement.

In November, Caltrans removed the homeless from encampments near the same area, which drew criticism from community members and the roughly 50 people living at the encampments. 

Maintenance teams with Caltrans have inspected the area and are now working with outreach partners to provide services to people living at the encampment, according to Alford.

Alford says Caltrans is hoping to implement a relocation plan, moving the homeless to open shelters, so that work can be done to repair the damage.

Caltrans officials did not say whether the damage caused by the excavation was considered hazardous to the structural integrity of the freeway but wrote in a statement, "Teams have inspected to ensure safety for the traveling public and to make sure that there isn’t damage to the freeway that could create instability of the slope."

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