Traffic clears following weather-related closures
Weather-related closures stopped traffic and required semi trucks to clear the roads in northern California and southern Oregon early Wednesday morning. Even when roads re-opened, it took hours for the backlog of traffic to clear.
Caltrans District 2 and emergency crews were busy as snow accumulated from a winter storm, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Shawn Gordon, who said some areas received as much as 12 to 18 inches of snow.
"The 911 operators at Yreka Communications Center experienced an extremely high volume of calls during this storm," said Gordon.
The majority of those calls were weather-related, he said, with about 20 calls for car crashes coming into the center throughout the day.
Interstate 5 was hit badly by the storm, particularly over mountain passes including the Siskiyou Summit, Anderson Grade Summit and the Dunsmuir Grade.
Severe weather caused southbound traffic to close at Edgewood Road, just north of Weed. According to Gordon, snowy conditions caused big rigs to block the road for a number of reasons, making it impossible for now plows to pass through.
"Even though there's minor damage done as far as collision-related damage, blocking the roads blocks the plows as well," he said. "And when the plows don't get by, the roads don't get cleared up. The snow just accumulates so much that it takes a lot of effort and a lot of time to be able to clear out the roads."
The road was re-opened around 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, but it took about five hours for the backlog of traffic to clear out.
"It was backed up for 15 miles at one point," said Gordon. "We had an extremely high number of trucks and also travelers trying to get back south to Redding and further south into California."
Once the closure was re-opened, drivers were still subject to metering. Gordon said they should expect delays.