Caltrans, CHP urge caution on roads

SIGNAL FILE PHOTO: CHP escorts vehicles over the top of Grapevine Summit snow starting to stick at 4000 foot level near Frazier Park. photo for The Signal by Jeff Zimmerman. Feb. 11, 2019.
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Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol spent Wednesday night readying the roads for a storm — and they hope motorists hitting the road are doing the same.

“We’re already set up and ready to close (Interstate 5),” said Officer Josh Greengard, spokesman for the CHP’s Newhall area.

As weather predictions call for potential snowfall at altitudes as low as 1,500 feet (elevation on the Grapevine reaches about 4,100 feet), both Caltrans and CHP officials are on alert.

Either agency can call for a closure of the freeway, he said, which would likely happen if snow falls as expected.

“If you can postpone your travel until (Thursday) afternoon, that would be best,” Greengard said, noting those who must travel Wednesday evening might want to use the 101 Freeway, as Highway 14 also could see a temporary closure.

Regardless of which route a motorist plans to take, Greengard also issued a few other cautions:

“We urge motorists to give themselves some more time to get to their destination, and make sure that your gas tank is full,” he added, referring to the fact that if a storm moves in quickly, motorists could become trapped on the road.

“You could get stuck on the road for a few hours, and it’s cold, and you’re going to need the heater in the car,” he said. “A full tank of gas is worth way more than your life, or going all night without the heater.”

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