Traffic slows holiday return trips to a halt along the I-5 and nearby surface streets

Drivers sit in standstill traffic on the northbound 5 freeway at McBean Parkway in Valencia. Holiday traffic snarled the 5 freeway for much of the Thanksgiving Weekend. Cory Rubin/The Signal
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Motorists sat through bumper-to-bumper traffic over several miles on the Interstate 5 this weekend as they made their way back home after the holiday weekend.

Several collisions on Saturday caused congested traffic to slow down beginning at 1:53 p.m. at the Highway 126 and Newhall Ranch Road intersection. Three more collisions followed, all of which further impacted traffic, including temporary blockage of the middle lane on the I-5, according to California Highway Patrol traffic logs.

“Every day and every time is a little different, but people need to be more cautious when driving near construction zones or traffic accidents,” said Officer Elizabeth Kravig of the CHP traffic management center.

Drivers worked around traffic on the I-5 northbound in Castaic as cars remained backed up over a mile on Hasley Canyon Road, according to witnesses on the scene. Traffic around the I-5 and Hasley Canyon Road continued on into Sunday morning, according to CHP traffic logs.

No collisions affected northbound traffic as it remained still, while the southbound side ebbed and flowed. By the afternoon and early evening, vehicles were experiencing an hour and a half slowdown from Sylmar to Castaic before letting up.

“There’s more travelers on the road due to the holidays,” Kravig said of Sunday’s traffic. “It’s nothing out of the ordinary.”

The overflow of cars also clogged The Old Road as far north as Rye Canyon Road. To escape the gridlock, cars were redirected off the I-5 down surface streets. By 5:24 p.m., CHP could not keep people from driving through neighborhoods that were not private streets, according to CHP traffic logs.

Residents in Castaic were also crammed, unable to get across town easily.

“It’s going to take a hot minute for me to get home,” said Parker Stevens.

Stevens was traveling with her boyfriend back home, taking Highway 14 instead. After making a stop at It’s a Grind, she said a drive back home would normally take around 5 minutes, but this time would take closer to 20 minutes.

“This reminds me of traffic during the fires,” she said.

Kristina Donato, a former Santa Clarita resident visiting from Oregon with her family for the holiday, said she noticed the I-5’s traffic every time she drove on the Lyons Avenue overpass near Stevenson Ranch.

“We’re really thankful we’re leaving tomorrow,” she said on Sunday.

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