I-5 reopens after hundreds of truck drivers, travelers stuck at freeway exit 14

Ashland, Ore. - Tuesday night, hundreds of truck drivers and travelers waited at Interstate 5's exit 14 in Ashland for the freeway to reopen after Oregon and California Departments of Transportation closed it for dangerous weather conditions from Ashland to Redding, but it stayed closed until Wednesday morning.

At 11:30 A.M. on Wednesday, ODOT and Caltrans opened the freeway for metered driving - meaning only a few drivers could take I-5 at a time.

By 2:30 P.M. on Wednesday, the organizations opened up the freeway in full for travelers to drive through.

"As soon as we get on the roads and the open the roads up, we're just going to head all the way down," Jose Valenzuela, a truck driver delivering frozen meats from Clackamas, Ore. to Los Angeles, said.

ODOT explained why the roads were closed for so long.

"Part of that is just the blizzard that was going on and also just some of the extractions that [Caltrans] needed to do as far as some of the big trucks on Anderson Grade between Klamath River and Yreka," Gary Leaming said. "[It was a] coordinated effort - wish they had gotten it open a little earlier."

The weather and wait-time got mixed reactions from truck drivers. Some said they had never seen that much snow, while others said it was normal for the trip along the west coast. The wait was not a big issue for many drivers who felt they would make the deadline. Other drivers said their companies understood the weather conditions they drove through.

"[The] main problem is the parking lot because we can find parking, but not for [the semi-truck]," Isaac Ciuz, a truck driving taking miscellaneous foods from Salem to Los Angeles, said. "It's so big and really hard to find a spot to park in."

Other drivers saw another problem with the 18-hour wait.

"It's a big problem you know, some drivers they don't have food," Navjot Ghuman, who was driving beer from Portland to Los Angeles, said. "Luckily, ... we took the exit and now we have something to eat but not all the drivers carry food."

Most drivers were stuck in Ashland from 6:00 or 7:00 P.M. on Tuesday until 11:30 A.M. on Wednesday.

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